General Electric has signed an equipment supply contract worth US$16.5 million with the Power Transmission Company No. 4 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 power capacity from 1000 A to 2000 A.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton witnessed the signing of the contract in Hanoi.

“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 to transmit power across the country more efficiently will enable EVN to mobilize 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 megawatts 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 uses 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 Co., to provide local content for the project. 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.

GE signed a memorandum of understanding in March 2011 with NPT for both companies to work together in an effort to increase Vietnam’s power transmission efficiency and expertise, while reducing the risk of power shortages.