ABB wins $550 million power transmission order from Irish grid operator

Zurich, Switzerland, March 30, 2009 — ABB has won an order worth $550 million to connect the Irish and U.K. power grids using technology that is designed to strengthen the reliability and security of electricity supplies in each country, and enable Ireland to expand its wind power capacity.

Eirgrid, the Irish transmission system operator, has ordered a 500-megawatt (MW) transmission system using high-voltage direct current (HVDC) Light, an ABB technology that features neutral electromagnetic fields, oil-free cables, low electrical losses, and compact converter stations. The solution also provides “black start” capability, a way of restoring power after a blackout without the aid of external energy sources.

The transmission link will run underwater for 116 miles and underground for 43 miles, with converter stations at each end that switch alternating current to direct current and back. The cable will be encased in extruded polymeric insulation, providing strength and flexibility needed to endure the severe conditions of the Irish Sea.

Rated at 200 kV, ABB said it will be the highest voltage HVDC Light link using this type of cable. The higher voltage enables a transmission capacity of 500 MW. ABB will be responsible for system engineering, including design, supply and installation of the sea and land cables, and both converter stations. The system is scheduled to be operational in September 2012.

Ireland plans to expand wind power generation and this link, between North Dublin and Wales, will ensure that it is able to import power if needed when the wind isn’t blowing, and to export power to the U.K. when it generates a surplus.

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