ABB, Zurich, says it has installed the world’s highest-voltage offshore converter station in the North Sea. Alternating current electricity generated in three wind farms off the coast of Germany will be converted on the platform into high-voltage direct current (HVDC) for transmission to the mainland. The 320 kilovolts converter station has an 800MW power transmission capacity, making it the world’s most powerful installation of its kind.
In a three-day operation, the 9,300 metric tonne platform including the converter station was transported offshore by barge around 75 km (approximately 46 miles) off the German coast. It was then lifted by the world’s largest crane vessel Thialf and positioned on top of the already installed jacket. The DolWin 1 offshore wind connection is expected to avoid 3 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per year by replacing fossil-fuel based generation.
In other ABB project news, the company also recently announced that its enaABB business unit has delivered the East West Interconnector to EirGrid, the Irish transmission system operator. The 500MW transmission connection is the highest capacity link of its kind, based on voltage source converter (VSC) technology, to go into commercial operation. The interconnector establishes an important link between the Irish and U.K. grids, enabling cross-border power flows and enhancing grid reliability and security of electricity supplies. The new link also facilitates power trading between the two countries and connects Ireland to the European grid. As Ireland expands its wind power capacity, it can export surplus electricity to the UK, and can import power when required. A 262 km cable system connects Woodland in County Meath, Ireland and Deeside in north Wales.