• Plant to handle design, manufacture and assembly of gas-insulated switch gear (GIS)
  • Budget, capacity and time line under study
  • Project designed to strengthen Hitachi’s role as GIS supplier

A joint venture of Japan’s Hitachi and local Walid Ahmad Juffali Company is in the process of prequalifying with the Saudi Electricity Company (SEC) for the construction of a new manufacturing plant for gas-insulated switchgear (GIS).

The budget, capacity of GIS units to be manufactured, and the construction schedule are under study, says Toshiya Kashimura, chief project manager at Hitachi’s Transmission Systems Division.

The plant will be located in Jeddah and will undertake a full manufacturing cycle from design and manufacture as well as assembly and installation.

Kashimura, who ran Hitachi’s operations based in Dubai prior to returning to Japan, said the project is in line with Hitachi’s goal to strengthen its role as a supplier, in addition to being a subcontractor, for substation projects in the kingdom.

More than 100 substations in Dubai have been using Hitachi’s switch gears starting with the station C built in the 1980s, cites Kashimura.

The future trend is for super compact switch gears and it is likely that these types of GIS units will be manufactured in their Jeddah plant.

The joint venture, called Hitachi T&D Systems Saudi Arabia, began operating in April. In addition to manufacturing GIS, the firm will be handling the whole process of substation construction from design to procurement, construction, maintenance and other related operations.

The Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region accounted for about 1 per cent, or $800m, of Hitachi’s global revenues in 2014.