Zurich-based ABB, a leader in power and automation technology, has won an order worth around $1 billion to supply a power link connecting offshore North Sea wind farms to the German mainland grid.
The order, from the Dutch-German cross-border grid operator TenneT, is the largest power transmission sale in ABB's history.
It will deploy the world’s most massive offshore HVDC (high-voltage direct current) system, with a rating of more than 900 megawatts (MW)—keeping electrical losses to less than 1 percent per converter station, according to ABB. The completed link will be capable of supplying more than 1.5 million households with clean wind-generated electricity.
Under the terms of the agreement, ABB will design, engineer, supply and install the offshore platform, the offshore and onshore converter stations, and the land and sea cable systems. ABB's environmentally friendly HVDC Light transmission technology will transport power from the 400 MW Gode Wind II and other wind farms to an offshore HVDC converter station, which will transmit the electricity to the onshore HVDC station at Dörpen on the German coast via about 85 miles of underwater and underground cables. A converter station there will feed electricity into the mainland grid.
In a company statement, ABB asserted that its HVDC Light transmission technology offers environmental benefits, such as neutral electromagnetic fields and compact converter stations. It is designed to overcome distance limitations and grid constraints, while ensuring minimal electrical losses and efficient performance. The 320-kilovolt cable voltage capacity in this latest system is the highest level used for HVDC transmission with extruded cables.
Scheduled to be operational in 2015, this offshore network will help to avoid more than three million tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year. Germany's currently installed wind power capacity of over 27 gigawatts meets about eight percent of its electricity requirements. Plans are to double that by 2020.
This is the third offshore wind connection order for ABB in Germany, following the 800 MW Dolwin1 link awarded last year and, previously, the BorWin1 project. Cheryl Kaften is an accomplished communicator who has written for consumer and corporate audiences. She has worked extensively for MasterCard (News - Alert) Worldwide, Philip Morris USA (Altria), and KPMG, and has consulted for Estee Lauder and the Philadelphia Inquirer Newspapers. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.
Edited by Rich Steeves