ABB to supply converters to help stabilize grid, integrate wind energy

ABB (NYSE: ABB) won an order worth around $90 million from American Transmission Co. (ATC) to supply a power solution that will help control the flow of power and enhance grid stability in the state of Michigan. The link is scheduled to go into operation in mid-2014.

As part of the project, ABB will design, supply and install a 200 MW back-to-back High-Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) Light station to control the power flow between the Upper and Lower Peninsulas of Michigan and provide voltage support. An HVDC back-to-back system comprises of two converters connected directly to each other, without any DC transmission line, making it possible to fully control the power transfer through the connection. During maintenance or other occasions when one of the converters is non-functional, the other converter operates like a static synchronous condenser (STATCOM) regulating device, continuing to provide dynamic voltage support to the network.

The voltage and reactive power control features of the system will enable the integration of additional wind energy and stabilization of the network. In the rare case of a power outage, the technology’s ‘black-start’ capability allows for fast network restoration using power from the other end of the link.

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