ABB is to supply several critical elements to the world’s first high-voltage direct current (HVDC) grid in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei area of China, enabling the integration of remote wind, solar and hydro energy in a transmission ring that ensures optimization of power flow.

The Zhangbei HVDC grid is designed by State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC), and elements ABB will supply include an HVDC Light valve, wall bushings, transformer components, high-voltage capacitors and power semiconductor devices. Part of its purpose is to ensure more stable and reliable electricity to meet higher demand during the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games.

HVDC is a highly efficient technology for transmitting large amounts of electricity over long distances with minimal losses, says ABB. Traditionally, they are point-to-point links, but the Zhangbei pilot project is unique because several stations are connected with each other in a network, optimizing the use of renewables while ensuring reliability of power supply. ABB, as well as other local suppliers, is supplying key equipment for this milestone project, which will be the world’s largest and most advanced Voltage Sourced Converter (VSC) HVDC system with four interconnected stations in a ring network, delivering up to 4500MW of clean energy.

“ABB pioneered commercial HVDC technology more than sixty years ago and introduced crucial innovations like HVDC Light and ultra-high HVDC (UHVDC) transmission to ensure reliable and efficient power supplies,” said Claudio Facchin, President of ABB’s Power Grids division. “ABB’s participation in this project reflects SGCC’s ongoing confidence in ABB’s proven HVDC expertise and our long-term efforts to help China strengthen its power infrastructure while minimizing environmental impact”

ABB first introduced the VSC-HVDC technology in 1997 and called it HVDC Light. This solution can control the power flow between grid locations, move electricity at very low losses and support voltage and frequency of weak grids such as isolated wind farms.