ABB to provide world’s longest underwater power transmission link

HVDC technology will connect power grids of Norway and The Netherlands

Zurich, Switzerland, December 23, 2004 – ABB, the leading power and automation technology group, said today it has received the go-ahead to proceed with the NorNed project, a high-voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission link connecting the power grids of Norway and The Netherlands.

The contract, originally awarded in 2000, is worth $270 million to ABB. The 580 kilometer-long NorNed link will be the longest underwater high-voltage cable in the world. The contract is with the two state-owned power grid companies TenneT in The Netherlands and Statnett in Norway. The interconnection will lead to power trading between the two countries and increase the reliability of electricity supply.

“NorNed is considered to be the benchmark for further cross-border interconnections in Europe,” said Peter Smits, head of ABB’s Power Technologies division. “It is a breakthrough contract, underlining our market leadership position. It will bring Europe closer to its target of substantially increasing power exchange capacity between countries and it marks a significant further step towards a common power market.”

Under the terms of the contract, ABB will supply state-of-the-art HVDC converter stations and the majority of the underwater cables. The system will have a 600 megawatt (MW) rating, but NorNed will be able to continuously deliver 700 MW. The three-year project starts in January 2005.

The HVDC grid interconnection will lead to a more efficient use of renewable hydro energy produced in Norway. It may also boost the development of wind power in The Netherlands because the HVDC link should help to compensate the effect of wind fluctuations. The interconnection will also reduce CO2 emissions because it will cut the use of peak load fossil fuelled generators and instead ease the use of highly efficient base load generators.

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 approximately 100 countries and employs about 103,000 people.

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    An HVDC underwater cable being laid. The NorNed project will include the world's longest HVDC underwater cable

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