GE has signed an equipment supply contract worth USD16.5 million with the Power Transmission Company No. 4 (PTC4), a subsidiary of the National Power Transmission Corporation (NPT), to double Vietnam’s existing power capacity through upgrading of the country’s national backbone transmission system. GE’s series capacitor banks will be installed as part of the upgrade of the 500-kV Pleiku–Phu Lam transmission line to increase its current capacity from 1000 to 2000 A. This follows the signing in March 2011 of a memorandum of understanding between GE and NPT for both companies to work together in an effort to increase Vietnam’s power transmission efficiency, mainly to reduce the risk of power shortages.

“The 500-kV Pleiku-Phu Lam transmission line, which is 500 km in length, is the backbone of Vietnam’s North-to-South power transmission. Increasing the capacity of the line … will enable EVN to mobilise generation sources to more effectively meet power demand, which varies from region to region. When it comes into operation in 2013, the project is expected to supply approximately 800 MW to the Southern area,” said Dang Phan Tuong, chairman of the Board of Management of NPT.

Under the terms of the contract, GE will supply six series capacitor banks to NPT and provide on-site supervision for installation testing and commissioning. The project utilises GE’s latest fuseless technology to enable a 100 percent increase in the current capacity of the existing transmission line and installed infrastructure. GE will partner for the first time with a local corporation, 3C Company, to provide local content for the project.

GE’s capacitor technology is established in Vietnam with the first GE banks installed in the 1990s. This is the second time GE has signed a contract directly with NPT. The first involved a similar capacitor banks installation in the 500-kV Da nang – Ha Tinh transmission line.

The U.S. Export-Import Bank is financing the project. Shipping and installation of the capacitors at the three locations will begin in the second quarter of 2013, with commercial operation set to begin in the third quarter of the year.