ABB won an order worth more than $100 million from the U.S. utility Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP), to modernize the existing Sylmar HVDC (high-voltage direct current) converter station in California.
The Sylmar converter station, located to the north of Los Angeles, is the southern station of the Pacific Intertie, an 845 miles HVDC link that connects to the Celilo converter station near the Columbia River, along the border of Oregon and Washington.
The Pacific Intertie transmits electricity from the Pacific Northwest to as many as three million households in the greater Los Angeles area. Normally, the power flow is from north to south, but during the winter, the north consumes large quantities of power for heating while the south requires less, and the power flow is reversed. The Pacific Intertie allows power to flow between the Northwest and Southern California, helping to balance supply with demand.
Digitalization will be a key feature in the upgrade, as the latest version of ABB’s most advanced digital MACH control and protection system will be installed. As announced previously, Celilo, the northern converter station of the link, was the first installation in the world to benefit from an upgrade to this latest control system. Other key components of the Sylmar station upgrade are AC and DC filters, shunt reactors, as well as measurement and auxiliary equipment.
The digital MACH system monitors, controls and protects the sophisticated hardware in the station, managing thousands of operations to ensure the highest possible reliability. It also helps to protect the transmission link from unexpected disruptions, such as lightning strikes.
MACH acts like the brain of the HVDC link, designed to run around the clock for decades. Incorporating advanced fault registration and remote control functions, ABB’s MACH system is the world’s most extensively deployed control solution for HVDC and FACTS (Flexible Alternating Current Transmission Systems) installations, with over 1,100 such systems in operation throughout the world.
Since being awarded the contract to help build the Pacific Intertie, in 1965, ABB has had a long lasting relationship with the link, delivering multiple performance and life extending upgrades over the 46 years the link has been in operation. This is ABB’s sixth order to work on the Pacific Intertie.