Gulf Haulage Heavy Lift Company (GHHL) has pulled off a remarkable feat by transporting a massive wind turbine over a distance of 1,250 km.
GHHL was awarded the contract to move the wind turbine from Jubail industrial port to Saudi Aramco’s bulk plant in Turaif in the northwestern part of the country. The scope of work included lifting and installation at the destination.
According to a company spokesman, the wind turbine – the country’s first – is a landmark project not only for Saudi Aramco but for Saudi Arabia in general in the field of renewable energy in fulfilling the kingdom’s Vision 2030.
“And with over three decades of presence in the kingdom and expertise with the local conditions, GHHL was the first choice for this project,” he says.
Soon after the wind turbine arrived at Jubail Port, GHHL on a short notice transported a single turbine blade (60 m long), from Jubail on a busy highway with full escort and support from local authorities to Saudi Aramco’s headquarters.
The set of three turbine blades along with the nacelle unit and tower sections were transported using special trailers in a single convoy over a distance of 1,250 km.
“To move a massive wind turbine weighing 410 tonnes in a span of six days, was indeed a challenge,” says the spokesman.
At the site, the tower sections were first erected, followed by the nacelle unit weighing 83 tonnes installed on top at a height of 84 m. The blades were then lifted to complete the wind turbine. The whole installation took two days.
A challenge during installation was the high winds in the region. This shortened the lifting time than what was scheduled to meet the critical deadline of Saudi Aramco. Once the tower sections were erected, the nacelle unit weighing 83 tonnes was installed on top, at a height of 84 m, before the blades were lifted to complete the entire wind turbine installation within two days.
The high wind speed in the region shortened the lifting time than the scheduled to meet the critical deadline of Saudi Aramco.
“With detailed planning and a dedicated crew, GHHL executed the project, the first of its kind, in the kingdom safely and successfully making it a milestone project,” says the spokesman.
This was Saudi Arabia’s first wind energy turbine, which it commissioned in January to provide electricity to Saudi Aramco’s bulk plant facility in Turaif. The project, which has been developed in partnership with GE, marked a new milestone in Saudi Arabia’s plan towards realising the 9.5 GW national renewable energy target set out as part of the National Transformation Plan (NTP) and Vision 2030.
One wind turbine creates enough power to supply 250 homes, can displace 19,000 barrels of oil equivalent, and generate 2.75 MW, thereby reducing demand for electricity from the national grid.
The GE 2.75-120 wind turbine has been delivered with a desert protection package specifically designed for the kingdom’s ‘hot and harsh’ conditions. The tower captures energy by blades 120 m in diameter.
The turbine blades are constructed from lightweight composite materials, resembling large aerodynamic glider wings. The wind turbine project was developed by specialists from Saudi Aramco’s Power Systems, with GE selected to design, supply, and construct the demonstration project.