Power and automation giant ABB has secured an order worth $1bn from Dutch-German transmission grid operator TenneT to supply a power link connecting offshore North Sea wind farms to the German mainland grid.
It is the largest-ever power transmission order for ABB, which claims it will deploy the world’s largest offshore HVDC (high-voltage direct current) system with a rating of more than 900 megawatts (MW) for the project, as this will keep electrical losses to less than 1pc per converter station.
When the power link is completed by 2015, ABB anticipates it will be capable of supplying more than 1.5m households with clean wind-generated electricity.
ABB will design, engineer, supply and install the offshore platform, the offshore and onshore converter stations and the land and sea cable systems.
It says its HVDC light transmission technology will transport power from the 400 MW Gode Wind II and other wind farms to an offshore HVDC converter station, which will transmit the electricity to the onshore HVDC station at Dörpen on the German coast via 135 kilometres of underwater and underground cables.
A converter station here will then feed electricity into the mainland grid.
Map of DolWin2 HVDC light transmission in the North Sea in Germany. This is ABB’s third offshore wind connection
ABB says this offshore network will help to avoid more than 3m tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per year by replacing fossil fuel-based generation.
"Offshore wind power is emerging as a major source of large-scale renewable energy in Europe to help meet emission targets and lower environmental impact," said Peter Leupp, head of ABB’s Power Systems division, today.
Last week, the European Wind Energy Association released statistics showing that offshore wind energy installations in Europe were up 4.5pc for the first six months in 2011, compared with the same period in 2010. A total capacity of 348MW was connected to the grid in the UK, Germany and Norway during that time.
Right now, Germany’s installed wind power capacity of more than 27 gigawatts meets around 8pc of its electricity requirements, with the country planning to double that output by 2020.
This is the third offshore wind connection order for ABB in Germany, following the 800 MW Dolwin1 link awarded last year and before that the BorWin1 project.
Solar and wave energy investments
ABB has also been making investments in clean-energy companies lately, such as its 35pc stake in Novatec Solar, a concentrated solar power (CSP) technology company based in Karlsruhe, Germany, announced in March.
And in December last year, ABB invested US$13m in Scottish wave power technology company Aquamarine Power, which has created the Oyster wave power device.
Photo: Testing of ABB HVDC light converter valve