Alstom to renew control system for key HVDC link in North American electrical network

Source: Alstom 

Alstom Grid has been selected by ATCO Electric, for the replacement and upgrade of control equipment at the McNeill Converter Station near Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada. The Converter Station houses a 150 MW back-to-back High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) link that facilitates the efficient exchange of energy between several important North American electricity networks.

Originally installed in 1989 with Alstom Grid power electronics and control systems, the McNeill HVDC Link has performed continuously and entirely unmanned, ever since. This new contract will replace the now obsolete control equipment with the latest Alstom Grid Series V digital Control System which will improve the performance and will extend the life of the converter station. The Series V control system is an integral element in all Alstom Grid HVDC offers, already successfully implemented in various HVDC converter stations supplied by Alstom worldwide.

“It’s a sign of our dedication to quality and expertise in HVDC systems that Alstom Grid has been asked to return by ATCO to the McNeill Converter Station,” said Jean Nakache, Vice President – Power Electronics Applications for Alstom Grid. “We are happy to be able to upgrade a system that has been working efficiently for over 20 years, and see it into the next 20 years of reliable service. Alstom Grid continues to play a major role as an HVDC and power electronics supplier in Canada with many Flexible Alternating Current Transmission Systems (FACTS) and HVDC schemes installed across the country.”

Owned and operated by ATCO, the McNeill converter station is dispatched by the Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) as part of the overall Alberta Interconnected Electric System. It is the northern-most link between the Western Electricity Coordinating Council (WECC) system and the Midwest Reliability Organization. It assures power to the most remote eastern regions while providing an energy-trading route with neighbouring Saskatchewan.

The McNeill Converter Station control replacement will be delivered by Alstom’s HVDC Center of Competence in Stafford, UK and our local Canadian team. Completion is scheduled for mid-2013.

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