Home > ABB wins $450 million order for Norway-UK HVDC interconnection

ABB wins $450 million order for Norway-UK HVDC interconnection

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article image ABB pioneered the HVDC technology

Global power and automation technology group ABB has won a $450 million contract to link the power grids of the United Kingdom and Norway.

Commissioned by Statnett, the state-owned network operator in Norway, and National Grid, an international electricity and gas utility from the UK, the job order will help secure power supply for both countries and support the integration of more renewable wind and hydroelectric power into their networks.

As part of the contract, ABB will supply high-voltage direct current (HVDC) converter stations at both ends of the North Sea Network (NSN) link between Norway and the UK. The order also represents yet another example of how ABB is facilitating critical transmission links for trading of electricity to enhance energy security and boost renewables. ABB was recently also awarded the NordLink project, a 1,400 MW interconnection rated at ±525 kilovolt (kV) to connect Norway and Germany.

ABB will design, engineer, supply and commission two ±525 kV, 1,400 MW converter stations, using its Voltage Source Converter (VSC) technology, called HVDC Light. One station will be situated in Blyth, UK and the other in Kvilldal, Norway.

ABB Chief Executive Officer Ulrich Spiesshofer described HVDC as a core technology pioneered by ABB and a key business focus in the company’s Next Level strategy. The latest contract also underlines that ABB’s Power Systems division is making solid progress on its return to profitable and sustainable growth.

The NSN link will have the capacity to transmit 1,400 MW of power through Norwegian and British waters. At 730km, the link will be the world’s longest subsea power interconnection, and is expected to enter commercial operation in 2021.

When wind power generation is high and electricity demand low in the UK, power will flow via the NSN link to Norway, allowing it to conserve water in its reservoirs. Conversely, when demand is high in the UK but wind power generation is low, electricity from Norway’s hydroelectric plants will flow to the UK. By interconnecting Nordic and British energy markets, the NSN link will enable both countries to better leverage the benefits of renewable energy.

Claudio Facchin, President, ABB Power Systems division explains that HVDC is a proven solution for the integration of renewables, and the reliable and efficient long distance transmission of power using subsea or underground routes. This is ABB’s 18th HVDC cross-border interconnection project in Europe.

ABB has been awarded around 100 HVDC projects since it pioneered the technology more than 60 years ago. This represents a total installed capacity of more than 120,000 MW and accounts for about half the global installed base. ABB introduced voltage source converter (VSC) HVDC Light technology in the 1990s and has delivered 15 of the 21 VSC projects presently in commercial operation around the world. The NSN link is the fifth significant HVDC Light order awarded to ABB during the last year.

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