National Grid and ABB celebrate 25th Anniversary of HVDC in New England

Source: ABB

Sandy Pond HVDC converter station in Massachusetts, the world’s first multi-terminal bipole High Voltage DC power system, has provided reliable, clean energy to New England since 1990.

ABB and National Grid today celebrate the 25th anniversary of the first major High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) power system that connects Quebec’s extensive renewable energy resources to the major population centers in southern New England.

The first-of-its-kind Sandy Pond HVDC converter station in central Massachusetts has brought up to 2,000 megawatts (MW) of clean energy into New England for the past quarter century.

The Sandy Pond HVDC station, built by ABB and operated by National Grid, opened in 1990 and was the world’s first, and still is, the only multi-terminal bipole HVDC system in the world where three stations are interconnected and operate under a common master control system.

Sandy Pond is the southernmost terminal. A 450 kV, 960-mile HVDC line transmits clean power to New England and southern Quebec from a massive hydroelectric complex located in the James Bay area in northern Quebec. The line originates at the Radisson terminal in northern Quebec, connects to the Nicolet terminal, which is located between Montreal and Quebec City, and ends at Sandy Pond. The multi-terminal network can transmit up to 2,000 MW of electricity to Sandy Pond, or it can split the power supply between Nicolet and Sandy Pond, providing flexibility in the power dispatch.

Sandy Pond is also the largest HVDC facility in the eastern United States. National Grid is majority owner and operates the HVDC system on behalf of some 35 co-owners.

A new MACH control system upgrade at Sandy Pond, as announced by ABB in 2013, will be commissioned by National Grid in June 2016. Key features of the upgrade include better monitoring and diagnostics, faster protection and control, minimal losses, improved cyber security and reliable long-distance transmission.

“This HVDC system has delivered clean, affordable, safe, reliable power to New England electricity customers for two-and-a-half decades,” said Rudy Wynter, president and COO of National Grid’s FERC-regulated businesses. “As we proudly celebrate its silver anniversary, we look forward to developing other HVDC projects that will bring significant amounts of affordable, carbon-free electricity to New England to help diversify and clean our energy supply for years to come.” 

National Grid, along with Anbaric Transmission, is proposing to build the Maine and Vermont Green Lines, large-scale HVDC transmission projects that together will transmit more than 1,400 MW of wind power, back stopped by hydroelectricity, from New York, Maine and Canada to New England.

“We are excited to support this important Silver Anniversary HVDC milestone with National Grid,” said Tomas Leander, senior vice president, HVDC for ABB in North America. “As HVDC solutions have provided New England with environmentally friendly, affordable power for the past 25 years, technology advancements continue to reduce costs and improve performance so that HVDC becomes a more utilized tool. This milestone is a testament to the merits of ABB high quality and reliable HVDC technology, and to National Grid’s commitment to provide reliable, cost-effective, clean energy for its customers.”

HVDC is a technology pioneered by ABB more than 60 years ago and now a preferred solution to transmit large amounts of power over long distances to high consumption centers with minimum losses. Since its inception, ABB has been awarded about 100 HVDC projects, which represents a total installed capacity of more than 120,000 MW and accounts for around half the global installed base. Ultra HVDC (UHVDC) transmission is a more recent development of HVDC. ABB continues to break technical boundaries and is now delivering the world’s first UHVDC multi-terminal system in India with the North-East Agra Link.

ABB ( is a leader in power and automation technologies that enable utility and industry customers to improve performance while lowering environmental impact. The ABB Group of companies operates in around 100 countries and employs about 140,000 people.

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