ABB wins $53 million order to boost power transmission capacity in South Africa

FACTS technology will boost capacity and enhance grid efficiency

Zurich, Switzerland, Feb. 2, 2009 – ABB, the leading power and automation technology group, has won an order worth $53 million from the South African power utility, Eskom, to strengthen the transmission network in the Western Cape region.

ABB will design, manufacture, install and commission six 765-kilovolt capacitor banks at Alpha, Beta, Mercury and Perseus substations. The installations, which form part of an initiative to increase power capacity in Cape Town and surrounding areas, will allow Eskom more flexibility and reduce their reliance on the existing Koeberg power station. The compensators used in the project are part of a family of technologies known as Flexible Alternating Current Transmission Systems (FACTS).

The order was booked in the fourth quarter of 2008 and is expected to be completed by 2010.

“ABB’s FACTS technologies allow more power to be delivered more efficiently using existing infrastructure,” said Peter Leupp, head of ABB's Power Systems division. “This reduces the need to build additional transmission lines, lowering environmental impact and minimizing cost.”

The project includes ABB’s Mach2 technology, which is an advanced control and protection system, and the most widely applied platform for HVDC (High Voltage Direct Current) and FACTS solutions. It brings the benefit of fast, flexible, real-time control. Fuseless capacitor units and high-speed bypass switches will further increase system reliability.

ABB is a pioneer in FACTS technologies, with the largest installed base in the world. Eskom has awarded ABB a number of contracts in recent years, including a $90 million order to upgrade control systems and instrumentation at the Matla power plant in north-eastern South Africa.

ABB ( is a leader in power and automation technologies that enable utility and industry customers to improve performance while lowering environmental impact. The ABB Group of companies operates in around 100 countries and employs about 120,000 people.

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