A 15.6 MW power station equipped with four Caterpillar 3600 diesel engines is supplying electricity to the first phase of the vast Durrat Al-Arus tourist city on Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea coast.

The resort is close to the city of Jeddah, and is a 300 ha residential and leisure complex which is likely to become one of the kingdom’s most popular tourist resorts. On completion of the first phase, the resort will house over 3500 people and offer a wide range of activities and facilities.

Construction on the $500 million project began around three years ago. At that time, the project developers, the Saudi Company for Recreation Centres (SCRC), decided that good services and infrastructure would be vital to the success of the project.

"It can take considerable time to get new developments connected to the major services such as water and electricity," said John Alexander, SCRC’s director of real estate and property management. "That is why we decided to provide our own complete infrastructure." All major services were therefore available from an early stage in the construction process. Infrastructure for this first phase includes a 15.6 MW power plant and 84 km of associated medium and low voltage distribution cables.

The power station is located in a 37 500 m2 services compound in the southeast corner of the city next to a 12 000 m3 desalination plant and a 30 000 m3 sewage treatment plant. The power plant is built around four Cat 3600 family medium speed diesel engines: three 220 l Cat 3612s; and one 293 l Cat 3616. The engines operate on distillate fuel which is readily available at a comparatively low price.

The Cat 3600 family of gensets develop their prime power ratings of 300 kW/cylinder running at 900 r/min. The units at Durrat Al-Arus are contained in a 900 m2 power house along with the switchgear and control systems which are located in an air conditioned room.

There is sufficient space in the power house for the installation of a further two units during later phases of the project, adding an additional 9.6 MW to the station’s generating capacity. Strict controls on noise pollution have resulted in external sound levels being limited to a maximum 65 dB(A) at the boundary of the nearest villas.

The Cat dealer for Saudi Arabia, Zahid Tractor & Heavy Machinery, supplied the turnkey package for all the power station systems with the exception of the medium voltage switchgear. It was also responsible for supplying the fully automatic load management systems and all interface engineering, including the remote, induced draft, horizontal radiator cooling systems. These are designed for ambient temperatures of up to 50°C and are epoxy coated for protection against the coastal climate.

All daily fuel and lube oil tanks were also supplied, as well as interconnecting pipes and valves. The two 500 000 l bulk storage tanks and tanker unloading stations, supplied under a separate subcontract, provide sufficient fuel for up to 14 days’ full load operation.