At least 10 companies are preparing to bid for the consultancy contract to develop Bahrain’s first 400kV power grid, firms close to the bidding tell MEED.

It is being developed by the state-owned utility the Electricity & Water Authority (EWA), which currently uses only 220kV and 66kV transmission lines.

The deadline for proposals is 25 November. 

Firms preparing to bid include Ireland’s ESB International, Canada’s SNC Lavalin, the UK’s Mott MacDonald and London Power Associates, the US’ Parsons Brinckerhoff, Germany’s Lahmeyer International, Sweden’s Vattenfall, Serbia’s Energoprojekt Entel, Finland’s Poyry Energy and RB Bahrain.

Grid voltages

400kV – Voltage of planned power grid being developed by Bahrain

220kV – Current voltage of Bahrain’s electricity grid

Source: MEED

The winning bidder will complete a feasibility study and define the scale of the network. It will also prepare tender documents for the engineering, procurement and construction contract, evaluate  bids, and supervise construction.

The project is part of EWA’s larger programme of expanding its transmission network. This started in 2007 and is due to finish in 2011. ESB International is the consultant on the wider project.

While carrying out studies on the programme, ESB International discovered that Bahrain’s existing 220kV lines could no longer cope with the country’s demand for power. The consultant recommended that the country upgrade its networks to 400kV.

EWA plans to build two 400kV substations and two 200-220kV transformers that will reduce the voltage for domestic and commercial consumption. It will also add 11 new 220kV substations and four 66kV substations.

Bahrain’s peak electricity demand will increase by 8 per cent to 2,500MW by the start of 2010.