ABB to connect U.K. and Netherlands for $350 million

May 22, 2007
HVDC technology stabilizes power supplies, increases trading capacity.

Zurich, Switzerland, May 22, -- ABB Power Systems Division has won its biggest cable order ever for a high-voltage connection between the power grids of the United Kingdom and the Netherlands.

The $350-million contract was awarded by National Grid in the U.K and state-owned TenneT in the Netherlands. The 260-kilometer BritNed link will allow energy trading between the two countries and increase the reliability of electricity supplies to both.

"BritNed is another step towards an integrated electricity network for Europe," said Peter Leupp, head of ABB's Power Systems division. "We are proud to demonstrate once again that we have the technologies needed to modernize the European grid, stabilizing supplies and increasing capacity."

Under the terms of the contract, ABB will supply the underwater and underground cables for the high-voltage direct current (HVDC) link. The system will have a total capacity of 1,000 megawatts (MW) and will be commissioned in 2010.

HVDC technology is used to transport electrical power over long distances with low losses using underground or submarine cables. Power flow can be exactly controlled, and the technology also prevents disturbances from spreading, making a significant contribution to the stability of the European grid.

ABB pioneered the technology in the 1950s, when the company built the world's first commercial HVDC transmission link in Sweden. ABB has supplied more than half of the world's HVDC projects, providing an installed transmission capacity of more than 45,000 MW.

ABB's HVDC projects include the world's longest underground power link in Australia and the world's longest underwater connection, the NorNed project between Norway and the Netherlands, which is under construction.