Home > ABB commissions world's highest capacity HVDC Light underwater power link

ABB commissions world's highest capacity HVDC Light underwater power link

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article image HVDC converter station

World-leading power and automation technology group, ABB has delivered the East West Interconnector to Irish transmission system operator, EirGrid. 

Based on voltage source converter (VSC) technology, the 500 MW transmission connection is the highest capacity link of its kind to go into commercial operation. The interconnector establishes an important link between the Irish and UK grids, enabling cross-border power flows and enhancing grid reliability and security of electricity supplies. 

The new link also facilitates power trading between the two countries and connects Ireland to the European grid. As Ireland expands its wind power capacity, it can export surplus electricity to the UK, and can import power when required. 

The East West Interconnector consists of a 262km cable system connecting Woodland in County Meath, Ireland and Deeside in north Wales. Extruded polymeric insulation on the cables provides strength and flexibility to endure the severe conditions of the Irish Sea. HVDC Light’s ‘black start’ capability can help restore power quickly in the event of an outage, without the aid of external energy sources. 

Brice Koch, head of ABB’s Power Systems business explains that the East West Interconnector is yet another example of the growing role of HVDC transmission technology when enabling key emerging trends such as integration of renewables and interconnections. 

Having pioneered HVDC technology nearly 60 years ago, ABB has been awarded around 90 HVDC projects representing a total installed capacity of more than 95,000 MW, about half the global installed base. 

At the forefront of HVDC innovation, ABB is uniquely positioned in the industry with in-house manufacturing capability for power semiconductors, converters and high voltage cables, the key components of HVDC systems. 

HVDC Light helps address the needs of long distance underground and subsea transmission, and is increasingly being deployed across a range of applications including integration of renewable energies from land-based and offshore wind farms, mainland power supply to islands and offshore oil and gas platforms, city centre in-feeds where space is a major constraint, and interconnections, often across the seas. 

ABB has delivered 13 of the 14 commissioned HVDC links based on VSC technology. 

ABB Australia represents the ABB Group in Australia.

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