ABB Australia have commissioned a switchgear rated to handle more than one million volts (1100kV).
The ultrahigh-voltage gas-insulated switchgear (GIS) has a switching capability of 6900MW, which means it can turn power equivalent to the average electrical consumption of Switzerland, a country with more than 7 million inhabitants, on or off within milliseconds.
ABB successfully designed, tested and commissioned the GIS for a pilot project launched in 2006 by State Grid Corporation of China to demonstrate the feasibility of AC power transmission at ultrahigh voltage.
The GIS is a central component of ultrahigh-voltage electricity transmission designed to carry huge amounts of electricity over vast distances with very low losses. ABB completed the assignment in two years with technology partner Xian Shiky, a Chinese switchgear manufacturer.
State Grid have announced plans to invest more than $14 billion in the next three to four years to expand their ultrahigh-voltage (UHV) network.
Ultrahigh voltage transmission reduces power losses and requires a smaller transmission corridor than conventional technologies. It is particularly suitable for countries like China, where energy resources are often far from the centers of power consumption.