Another successful start of an HVDC link

2008-07-02 - NorNed, the longest submarine high-voltage, direct current cable in the world, has been in operation since May 5. On June 27, the 580-km cable, which links the power networks of Norway and the Netherlands, passed its operational test period with flying colors.

"Our customers have carried out initial trial operation on the NorNed cable with only minor disturbances," said ABB's Svante Svensson, project manager for the projects' converter stations in Feda, Norway and Eemshaven in the Netherlands. "The entire commissioning has been a great success," he added.

Before the project was handed over to the customers, Statnett in Norway and TenneT in the Netherlands, the installations were subjected to an exhaustive series of tests.

The advanced transmission system was tested and verified for all possible conditions over a period of three weeks in April. Thanks to the good design of the plant and well-organized test routines, ABB was able to carry out the tests in an extremely short time and the link was operational ahead of schedule.

The commissioning of the power link was eagerly awaited. Since the very start of the work in January 2005, NorNed has been a high profile project in Europe's efforts to connect its power grids.

The NorNed link will allow power from renewable energy sources in the Nordic countries to be delivered into the Central European energy system with very low energy losses. By offering an alternative, clean power source to fossil-fuel based generation, the operators expect to reduce carbon emissions in the area by around 1.7 million tons every year.

Power supplies in the Netherlands are largely dependent on gas- and coal-fired power plants. The NorNed link provides access to electricity from hydro power plants in Norway. During the short time that the link has been in operation, large quantities of power have already been delivered to the Netherlands from the Norwegian hydro power plants where the dams were well-filled with run-off from melting snow.

Another environmental advantage will be gained from the ability to balance Norwegian and Dutch power sources. The hydro power is easy to control, so they can complement the gas- and coal power plants in the Netherlands more predictably, allowing the Dutch plants to operate more consistently and more efficiently. Hydro power can be used to manage peak loads in the daytime and, at night, Dutch electricity can be sent northwards while the hydro power generation is reduced overnight.

Furthermore the link enables the highly controllable hydro power to compensate for unpredictable Dutch wind power.

NorNed is not only the longest submarine high-voltage direct current cable in the world. It is also the most powerful built to date, with a transmission capacity of 700 MW.

"It was very important to participate in the land-mark project," said Svante Svensson. "It is full of cutting-edge technology and will make a significant contribution to the quality of the European power system."

The ABB part of the NorNed project was worth $270 million when the contract was signed and comprises the two converter stations in Feda and Eemshaven and approximately two thirds of the cable deliveries.

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    The world's longest submarine cable goes between Norway and The Netherlands and is 580 km long.

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