ABB commissions HVDC station upgrade for Canadian interconnection

Extended lifetime provided for high-voltage direct current (HVDC) back-to-back station


Zurich, Switzerland, December 8, 2014 – ABB, the leading power and automation technology group, has successfully commissioned the upgraded 42-year-old Eel River HVDC back-to-back station in New Brunswick, Canada. This upgraded link, which was handed over to customer NB Power, secures a reliable power exchange between the New Brunswick and Hydro Quebec grids.

The converter station provides a bi-directional asynchronous interconnection in the south-eastern part of Canada. ABB replaced the existing equipment, originally installed in 1972, with the latest converter valves and state-of-the-art MACH control and protection system. Furthermore, the old valve cooling system was upgraded from an air-cooled system to a water-cooled system. The upgrade reduced the total valve and cooling system losses by approximately 65 percent.

“In addition to enhancing grid reliability and power stability, our HVDC solution enables efficient transmission of electricity across this important interconnection,” said Olof Heyman, head of ABB’s HVDC business, a part of the Power Systems division. “ABB’s flexible MACH control system enables the interface with existing equipment on site.”

“This work was essential to NB Power’s operations and we are very proud to have had highly qualified, local contractors and trades workers work with ABB to contribute to the project and create work opportunities in the region. These upgrades will allow our customers to continue experiencing the benefits of this station while helping us keep our rates low and stable over time,” said NB Power President and CEO, Gaëtan Thomas.

ABB’s MACH system is the world's most extensively deployed control solution for HVDC and Flexible Alternating Current Transmission Systems (FACTS) installations, with over 1,100 such systems in operation throughout the world.

ABB pioneered HVDC transmission technology 60 years ago (read more here) and has built a vast global installed base, having completed almost 100 HVDC projects around the world, with a total transmission capacity of over 95,000 MW. ABB remains at the forefront of HVDC innovation and is uniquely positioned in the industry with in-house manufacturing capabilities for all key components of HVDC systems, including power semiconductors, converters and high voltage cables.

ABB (www.abb.com) is a leader in power and automation technologies that enable utility, industry, and transport and infrastructure customers to improve their performance while lowering environmental impact. The ABB Group of companies operates in roughly 100 countries and employs about 145,000 people.



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    • Harmeet Bawa
      Head of Communications
      ABB Power Products and Power Systems
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