Northeast India has abundant hydropower resources scattered over a large area, while the load centers are often located thousands of kilometers away. India plans to create pooling points in the region to collect electricity generated from several hydropower stations and transport it across power superhighways to major urban load centers.

The UHVDC link, operating at 800kV will have a converter capacity of 8000MW, the highest ever built. When operating at full capacity, it will have the means to supply electricity to 90 million people based on current figures for average national consumption.

The system will be the world’s first multi-terminal ultrahigh-voltage link and will have three converter stations. Two “sending” stations will convert power from alternating current (AC) to DC for transmission over a single power line and deliver electricity to a third, “receiving” station in Agra where it will be converted back into AC for distribution to end users. The power link will pass through the so called “chicken neck area”; a very narrow patch of land (22km wide x 18km long) in the state of West Bengal, which borders Nepal and Bangladesh.

“HVDC technology is ideally suited for transmission of power, with minimum losses, over long distances and where space is limited,” said Peter Leupp, head of ABB’s Power Systems division. “This project will set many new global benchmarks and emphasizes ABB’s leadership in HVDC. We are pleased to continue supporting India in the development of its power infrastructure.”

ABB will execute the North-East Agra transmission project together with India’s BHEL (Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited), that will deliver the remainder of the project worth more than $1.1B in total. The project will be executed on a turnkey basis including design, system engineering, supply, installation and commissioning and is scheduled to go in operation in 2015.

ABB previously announced in March that it had been selected for this project.