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ABB wins $130 million HVDC order for subsea power transmission link in Finland

ABB announced that it has won an order worth around $130 million from Kraftnät Åland AB to supply a power transmission link between the Finnish mainland and Åland.

A press release said that the high-voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission system will be capable of transmitting 100 MW (megawatts) of electricity with minimum losses across a distance of 158 kilometers. The system, it said, includes features such as active AC voltage support providing greater network stability and unique 'black-start' capability, which provides faster grid restoration in the event of a blackout. The system is DC grid enabled, ie, prepared for a multi-terminal configuration, which allows for additional in-feed from stations, such as future wind power plants.

ABB will design, engineer, supply and commission two 100 MW, ±80 kV (kilovolt) HVDC Light converter stations, one situated in Ytterby, Åland and the other in Nådendal, Finland, the release said. Two 80 kV submarine cables, each 158 km long, will enable the transmission of power, it noted, adding that the HVDC system "incorporates special features such as active AC voltage support providing greater network stability and the unique 'black-start' capability, which provides faster grid restoration in the event of a blackout." The system is DC grid enabled, i.e, prepared for a multi-terminal configuration, which allows for additional in-feed from stations, such as future wind power plants, it said. The link is scheduled to become operational in 2015.

"The link will enable the integration of more renewable energy, provide security of power supply and grid reliability to Åland," said Brice Koch, head of ABB's Power Systems division. "Our in-house manufacturing capability for converters, cables and semiconductors – the key components for HVDC – combined with our global track record will help us to deliver a best-in-class solution."

The release said that the Åland archipelago, an autonomous Finnish province at the entrance to the Gulf of Bothnia in the Baltic Sea, currently receives its power through an AC (alternating current) cable from Sweden and local renewable sources. The existing fossil fueled power generation backup facility will be closed down once the new link is in operation, and apart from resolving the supply issue and reducing dependence on fossil fuels, the HVDC Light link will enhance the contribution of renewables to the grid and help Finland reach its emission reduction targets.

ABB notes in the release that it pioneered HVDC transmission technology almost 60 years ago, and that it has more than 70 HVDC projects around the world that provide total transmission capacity topping 60,000 MW.

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