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ABB wins order for Caithness-Moray subsea power link

10th September 2014

Photograph of ABB wins order for Caithness-Moray subsea power link

HVDC Light power link to enable integration of 1,200 megawatts of renewable energy.

ABB has won an order worth over $800 million from Scottish Hydro Electric (SHE) Transmission plc to provide the Caithness-Moray high-voltage direct current (HVDC) power transmission link, which will connect the electricity grid on either side of the Moray Firth in northern Scotland. This follows a favorable decision by Ofgem (Office of Gas and Electricity Markets), an independent National Regulatory Authority, on the need for the link.
ABB will design, engineer, supply and commission two 320 kilovolt land-based HVDC Light converter stations, one rated at 1,200 megawatts (MW) at Blackhillock in Moray and another rated at 800 MW situated at Spittal in Caithness.

ABB's scope of supply also includes submarine and underground cables covering a total transmission length of nearly 160 kilometers. The link is scheduled to become operational in 2018.

"We are pleased to support this major transmission project that will enable integration of a significant amount of renewable energy into the grid and supply clean, emission-free electricity to millions of people," said Claudio Facchin, head of ABB's Power Systems division. "ABB pioneered HVDC technology and continues to lead the way through innovation, as seen from several recent breakthroughs."

SHE Transmission is undertaking a major strengthening of its power network serving the north of Scotland to accommodate the rapid growth in generation of electricity from renewable sources, with around 1,200 MW of wind, wave and tidal energy planned to be connected. With associated reinforcement of the existing onshore network, this project represents the largest investment in northern Scotland’s electricity network since the hydro development era of the 1950s.

A key enabler for this is the installation of a subsea HVDC cable, capable of carrying up to 1,200 MW of electricity between Caithness and Moray, equivalent to the electricity needs of about 2,000,000 Scottish residents.

ABB’s HVDC Light solution leads the way in VSC (Voltage Source Converter) technology. The company has delivered 13 of the 14 commissioned VSC links in the world. HVDC Light continues to be a preferred solution for long-distance underground and underwater power transmission links.

HVDC Light technology is increasingly being deployed across a range of applications such as the connection of remote renewables, cross-border interconnections, power-from-shore feeding offshore oil and gas platforms, and city center in-feeds where space is a constraint.

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

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