The Baghdad Bismayah (Bismaya) combined-cycle power plant is a 4,500MW plant being developed in Iraq. Credit: General Electric Company.
GE Power will supply gas turbines and four generators for the third phase of the plant. Credit: General Electric Company.
The 1,500MW third phase is expected to commence operations by 2021. Credit: MACOGA, S.A.

Baghdad Bismayah (Bismaya) combined-cycle power plant is being developed by Iraq’s Ministry of Electricity, approximately 25km south-east of the Baghdad city. The plant was developed with an initial capacity of 3,000MW, but further development of 1,500MW was announced in 2019, increasing the total capacity to 4,500MW.

The power plant had an estimated cost of $4.5bn for the development of the 3,000MW power generation capacity.

The development of the power plant is part of the Bismayah New City project, which is aimed at rebuilding conflict-ridden and war-torn Iraq. The Bismayah New City project includes the construction of more than 100,000 homes in addition to all the necessary infrastructure such as roads, water and sewerage facilities, power plants, and desalination facilities.

The Iraqi power plant was initially developed in two phases of 1,500MW each. The first phase commenced operations in April 2017, while the second phase was commissioned with a simple cycle phase in 2018 and the combined cycle phase was completed in 2020.

With a generation capacity of 1,500MW, the third phase is expected to come online by 2021.

Bismayah power plant make-up

The power plant consists of four 750MW combined-cycle blocks, with each block containing two 260MW GE Frame 9FA gas turbines, two heat recovery steam generators, and one GE Frame C7 steam turbine.

"It commenced operations with a simple cycle phase in 2017, while full operations are expected to start in 2021."

The gas turbines are configured to operate on natural gas and diesel. Natural gas is the main fuel while diesel is used as standby. The diesel required for the plant is stored in six 10,000m³ tanks.

Other facilities include oil unloading, storage and transfer facilities, gas supply units, water and air-cooled condensers, two wet cooling towers, fuel gas conditioning, and pressure reduction, main and auxiliary transformers, the main control system, 132kV / 400kV substations, water treatment plant, and administrative and maintenance areas.

Multiple transmission lines were also be built to export the power generated by the plant through 400kV and 132kV switchyards.

As part of phase three, the plant will be equipped with four 9F gas turbines, four heat recovery steam generators, and two air-cooled condensers.

Combined-cycle power generation at Bismayah

The GE Frame 9FA gas turbines have a combined rated capacity of 2,080MW and can operate both in the open and combined-cycle mode through the use of a bypass stack. The remaining 920MW capacity is generated by the steam turbines.

Electricity is generated through the burning of natural gas in the gas turbines, which generates heat and air, driving the gas turbine-generator. Exhaust heat from the gas turbines is collected through heat recovery steam generators to generate steam.

The high-pressure steam drives the steam turbine to generate additional electricity without any additional fuel consumption. Waste heat from the steam turbines is sent to a set of fin-fan coolers and wet cooling towers.

The power plant has been designed with the right level of redundancy to ensure that a single failure across the system will not result in the total loss of the entire generating unit.

Construction of the Iraqi power plant

Civil conflicts and instability caused significant damage to the city of Baghdad. As a result, the construction of the power plant required the development of self-sufficient temporary construction facilities to carry out the construction activities.

Gas sale agreement

The electricity produced in phase three will be supplied to the Iraqi Ministry of Electricity under a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with MGH, the operator of the power plant.

Contractors involved with the Bismayah power plant

The Ministry of Electricity of Iraq contracted Mass Group Holding (MGH) to develop the plant. MGH awarded the design, engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contract to ENKA İnşaat ve Sanayi A.Ş, a company based in Turkey.

APPA was subcontracted by MGH to serve as the owner’s engineer for selecting the EPC, providing services for project realisation and technical services for the implementation of the 132/400kV switchyard.

The Frame 9FA gas turbines and Frame C7 steam turbines were supplied by GE USA, while the heat recovery steam generator were provided by CMI Belgium. GEA Germany was contracted to supply the water and air-cooled condensers.

Siemens Germany is responsible for the main and auxiliary transformers. The main control system was provided by Emerson and the 132400Kv substations were supplied by ABB Sweden.

In March 2018, MACOGA was contracted for the design, manufacturing, testing, and delivery of hinged expansions joints, universal tied, and turbine to condenser metallic expansion joints.

Amak performed seismic tests and refraction surveys for the project. Avax, the EPC contractor for phase two, will also provide engineering, procurement, construction, and testing and commissioning services for phase three.

In September 2019, GE Power was contracted by MGH to supply gas turbines and four generators for phase three. Flenco was selected by GE Global Parts and Products to supply the auxiliary systems.