ABB wins $180 million order for undersea power link in Italy

HVDC system links power grids of Sardinia and mainland Italy

Zurich, Switzerland, June 6, 2006 – ABB, the leading power and automation technology group, has won a $180 million order from Terna SpA, a leading energy company that operates the Italian transmission system. The infrastructure will deliver a High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) power system connecting the grids of Sardinia and peninsular Italy.

The 1,000 megawatt HVDC undersea link will carry surplus power between the Italian mainland at Latina and the island of Sardinia. Italy is one of the world’s biggest importers of electrical power and the connection will be able to deliver electricity for one million homes.

“ABB’s cutting-edge HVDC technology creates a vital link to ensure the grids of Sardinia and the Italian mainland are supplied with reliable electrical power as needed,” said Samir Brikho, head of ABB's Power Systems division. “The system also contributes to the necessary upgrade of an expanded Europe’s transmission infrastructure by creating another interconnection to facilitate the exchange of electrical power.”

The contract calls for ABB to design and deliver two converter stations, one in Fiume Santo, Sardinia, and the other in Latina, on the Italian mainland – both in existing 400 kilovolt (kV) substations. The stations include converter transformers as well as air-insulated and gas-insulated switchgear. ABB will produce the equipment at its factories in Sweden, Switzerland and Italy.

The distance between the two converter stations is 420 kilometers. Power cables will be laid beneath the Tyrrhenian Sea at depths of up to 1,600 meters.

In addition to handling the power exchange, this sophisticated HVDC system can stabilize voltages and frequencies on Sardinia. It will be a bipolar HVDC system using two cables. The first pole will be completed in 2008.

This will be the third HVDC project delivered by ABB to Italy. The most recent interconnection between Italy and Greece was completed in 2001.

In late 2004, ABB began work on the world’s longest undersea power interconnection – the 580-kilometer-long NorNed link – that joins power grids in the Netherlands and Norway. In 2005, ABB began work on Estlink, a 100-kilometer undersea and underground interconnection, joining power grids in Finland and Estonia.

ABB pioneered HVDC technology more than 50 years ago when the company built the world’s first commercial high-voltage direct current transmission link in Sweden. ABB remains the world leader in HVDC transmission technology, with 55 HVDC projects improving the transmission capacity of utilities around the world by more than 45,000 MW.

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 105,000 people.

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