The creation of HVDC

HVDC: from design to delivery

ABB has been designing and building HVDC systems for over 50 years. In that time we have pioneered breakthrough technologies and supplied half of the world’s HVDC projects – an achievement that gives ABB an unrivaled base of experience.

Pre-contract project team

A project team with a broad and experienced background in HVDC is formed and discussions are held with the customer. The team, supported by a skilled line organization, is responsible for all project work, both before and after the contract is awarded.

The design phase

Much of the design work is performed as part of the pre-contract proposal. Main circuit parameters are defined and conceptual drawings for buildings and layout are discussed with the customer. When the contract has been awarded, the detailed design of all systems, civil works and switchyards is performed using advanced computer-aided design systems.


An ABB employee at work in Ludvika, Sweden

ABB has the biggest HVDC production, assembly and testing facilities in the world. The assembly plant in Ludvika, Sweden, has sufficient production capacity to meet world demand.


Prior to delivery, the control and protection system is connected to an HVDC simulator. System functions, control hardware and software are verified, disturbance tests are performed, and each component is exposed to a thorough burn-in period during both normal operation and abnormal fault conditions.

Civil works and installation

ABB uses local contractors, carefully selected for their competence and experience and managed by ABB personnel on site.


After installation, which is carried out by highly qualified local contractors under ABB supervision, ABB commissioning engineers perform low voltage and high voltage tests. Filter performance, losses and capacity are also measured.

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    The evolution of HVDC

    • HVDC (high voltage direct current) is an ABB innovation for transmitting bulk power over long distances and interconnecting incompatible power grids. ABB spent 25 years developing the technology that led to the first commercial installation in Sweden in 1954. There are now some 100 HVDC systems in operation in the world, more than half of which have been supplied by ABB.

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