ABB wins $38 million order to improve power efficiency in Saudi Arabia

Technology to correct power factor will enhance power capacity, quality and efficiency

Zurich, Switzerland, Nov. 23, 2009 – ABB, the leading power and automation technology group, has won an order worth $38 million from the Saudi Electricity Company, Saudi Arabia’s national power transmission and distribution utility, to improve the efficiency of 22 power distribution substations.

ABB will provide technologies to improve the power factor, which is an indicator of the usable power available in the grid. ABB will design, engineer, supply, install and commission the equipment. The project is expected to be completed by 2011.

The technologies, which will increase capacity, improve power quality and raise network efficiency, will be installed in 22 distribution substations serving the Mecca, Medina, Jeddah and Ta’if areas. Products to be supplied include capacitor banks of various ratings, medium-voltage switchgear, protection and control equipment and a SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) system to help the utility to manage its power network more effectively.

A distribution system’s operating power comprises active or “working” power and reactive or “non-working” power. Power factor represents the ratio between the two and is a measure of a power network's efficiency. Efficiency can be improved by correcting, or raising, the power factor.

“Improving the efficiency of the substations will increase power availability and help meet increasing demand for quality power in the region,” said Peter Leupp, head of ABB’s Power Systems division.

ABB booked a similar order relating to 28 distribution substations in August this year and has also successfully commissioned several substations in the region. ABB’s ability to complete projects effectively in a short timespan is helping to strengthen the Saudi Arabian power network and meet growing electricity needs, including high demand during the summer months.

ABB ( is a leader in power and automation technologies that enable utility and industry customers to improve performance while lowering environmental impact. The ABB Group of companies operates in around 100 countries and employs about 120,000 people.

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