ABB (NYSE: ABB), the leading power and automation technology group, has won orders worth around $75 million from Hydro-Québec, the utility in eastern Canada, and National Grid, the utility in New England, USA, to refurbish three high-voltage direct current (HVDC) converter stations.
The multi-terminal HVDC link between Québec and New England was the world’s first such link to be put into service between 1990 and 1992. ABB will now replace the 20-year-old control and protection systems with the newest modular advanced control systems (MACH) for HVDC equipment.
The link has a total transfer capacity of 2,000 megawatts of power and spans a distance of 1,500 kilometers from the La Grande II hydroelectric generating complex near James Bay in eastern Canada, via Nicolet, a substation located on the south shore of the St-Lawrence river, down to Sandy Pond, near Boston, Massachusetts in the US.
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“ABB pioneered HVDC technology and we continue to lead the way through innovation,” said ABB CEO Ulrich Spiesshofer. “This project reinforces ABB’s focus and commitment to supporting customers throughout the lifecycle of the products and systems it delivers. It also underlines the company’s emphasis on growing its service business.”
The project scope also includes refurbishment of two cable transition stations and a control and protection system replica for a test center in Canada. The stations are scheduled to go in operation in stages and will be completed by 2016.
The MACH system is the world's most extensively deployed control solution for HVDC and Flexible Alternating Current Transmission Systems (FACTS) installations, with over 1,100 such systems in operation throughout the world.
“The upgrade of the converter stations will enhance the efficiency and reliability of this important HVDC link,” said Claudio Facchin, head of ABB's Power Systems division. “It will also help to improve security of power supply in the region.”
ABB pioneered HVDC technology nearly 60 years ago and has been awarded around 90 HVDC projects representing a total installed capacity of more than 95,000 MW, which accounts for about half of the global installed base. ABB remains at the forefront of HVDC innovation and is uniquely positioned in the industry with in-house manufacturing capabilities for power semiconductors, converters and high voltage cables, the key components of HVDC systems.
ABB has significant experience in delivering HVDC link upgrades around the world. This is the 20th major upgrade project and the 14th upgrade of control and protection systems won by ABB since 1990.