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The power of generating power

The power of generating power

Charles Levey is VP of Pratt & Whitney Power Systems. He spoke to Atique Naqvi about generating energy in the region, about climate change skeptics, and about dealing with Iran.

February 6, 2011 5:22 by

Vice president of Pratt & Whitney Power Systems, Charles Levey, spoke to TRENDS about their projects in the Middle East and the changing dynamics in the power generation sector.

What scope do you see for Pratt & Whitney Power Systems in the Middle East?
Pratt & Whitney Power Systems has a lot of interest in the region especially in the power generation system. For many years, however, our presence in the Middle East has been very limited predominantly because of the technology that we provide. It focuses on aero-derivative gas turbine system sand the prevalent choice of fuel source in the region is heavy fuels while our system do not operate well on heavy fuels, actually aero-derivative machines are not designed for it.

The technology that can accommodate heavy-duty fuels has been industrial gas turbine technology and that has been changing in many regions and the preference is natural gas because it’s clear, easy to handle and environment friendly. This can add a lot of efficiency to the power generation model in the Middle East. The use of natural gas in power generation has done two things, first it provides a green solutions reducing the carbon impact in the region for the same amount of electricity generated through conventional sources and second it would give power generators or utility firms more options on the technological point of view.

People are still skeptical of gravity of changes in the environment, especially in the United States, what is your view?
I am by no means a person who has training in environment issues but I can say for sure the more fossil fuels we burn and emit into the atmosphere it’s going to have an impact. We have to develop renewable and sustainable technologies and reduce our carbon print. However, I am not sure about the impact of global warming but if we limit emissions into the atmosphere, it will help create better environment. It’s pure common sense.

What kind of investments you have seen in the power generation system in the Middle East?
It depends on the economic needs. Each country has its own economic growth plan and they have to invest accordingly irrespective of whether or not the country has the capital to invest, because power-generating infrastructure is one of the main drivers of growth.

Lately, countries in the region have been shifting to cost-effective power generating systems. Demand becomes more diverse as population grows and governments have to decide whether they want to invest in centralized power systems or small facilities that cater to densely populated areas. There is no one right answer for a particular region or country. The key, however, is to invest in competitive technologies that besides being price effective are also environment friendly.

We have a 25MW mobile generation package, which is very flexible and extremely popular in Europe and Latin America. Many people use it as emergency package and installation takes a day. Large power generating systems are for long term while smaller generators are mainly for intermediate period, and can be moved to other places easily and are cost-effective too.

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