ABB marks 50th anniversary of pioneering HVDC technology

2004-05-06 - Key interconnector technology supports power grid reliability

Zurich, Switzerland, May 6, 2004 – ABB, the leading power and automation technology group, today marked the 50th anniversary of its pioneering of HVDC (high-voltage direct current) technology with a series of events on the Swedish island of Gotland – the site of the first HVDC line, which was commissioned in 1954.

Since launching HVDC commercially 50 years ago, ABB has been at the forefront of developing the technology further. This includes ABB’s patented HVDC Light, which is designed for underwater and underground power transmission.

Speaking at the event in Gotland, Peter Smits, head of ABB’s Power Technologies division said: “ABB’s technology know-how, coupled with our top quality equipment, local expertise and pioneering spirit, have made us the undisputed market leader in HVDC technology. Our HVDC technology is in use on every continent, bringing benefits to utilities and industries, as well as consumers.”

The benefits of HVDC technology have received special attention in the wake of the blackouts in 2003. Compared to traditional high-voltage alternating current (HVAC) power lines, HVDC lines cannot be overloaded. With HVDC, the power flow can be controlled to ensure maximum power grid stability.

In Gotland, Smits called for clear rules to allow more investments in cross-border interconnections: “Utilities require incentives for those infrastructure projects. HVDC interconnections make Europe’s power grid more reliable and allow power trading in a common market – including eastern Europe.”
ABB has been chosen to supply more than half of the HVDC converter stations in the world, and currently has a 60 percent market share.

ABB’s HVDC achievements include: the highest voltage - 600kV - in the world (Itaipu, Brazil); the longest HVDC lines and highest converter power rate (China); the world’s longest underground cable (Murraylink, Australia) and the world’s longest submarine cable (Baltic cable link).

The events in Gotland marking “50 years of HVDC” included presentations, demonstrations, a customer and media conference and visits to the sites of a new HVDC transmission center, and the original HVDC transmission station, which received power from the mainland 90 kilometers away via a 100-kV, 20-MW submarine cable.

ABB (www.abb.com) 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 113,000 people.

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    ABB is the market leader in high-voltage direct current (HVDC) systems like the one pictured here in China. HVDC increases transmission capacity while stabilizing networks.

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