ABB to upgrade two critical Australian HVDC links

ABB Australia Pty Ltd

Wednesday, 28 March, 2018

ABB to upgrade two critical Australian HVDC links

Technology company ABB has won a $30 million order to replace the control and protection systems for two vital high-voltage transmission links that were initially installed by the company nearly two decades ago.

The Murraylink and Directlink transmission links are based on high-voltage direct current (HVDC) technology, in which the alternating-current (AC) power used by the utility grid is converted to direct current (DC) for transmission — an efficient way of transporting large amounts of electricity over long distances with minimum losses. Now, both transmission links will be modernised with the latest ABB Ability MACH control system.

The Directlink transmission system was commissioned in 2000 and marked the first interconnection of the regional electricity markets of NSW and Queensland. Two years later, the 180 km Murraylink transmission system became the world’s longest underground HVDC power transmission system when it was put into service, connecting South Australia and Victoria.

The replacement of the control and protection systems is intended to improve power and grid reliability, while also extending the life spans. ABB will carry out the upgrades for energy infrastructure company APA Group, which manages Directlink and Murraylink facilities owned by Energy Infrastructure Investments (EII).

Central to the upgrade of both links is the installation of the ABB Ability MACH control and protection solution, which acts like the brain of the HVDC transmission system. By monitoring, controlling and protecting the sophisticated technology in the converter stations, the system ensures reliability and efficiency, along with remote-control functions to ensure power security.

“We are delighted to implement our latest MACH control technology to upgrade these important HVDC transmission links,” said Claudio Facchin, president of ABB’s Power Grids division. “The project reiterates our strategic focus on service and digital technologies and reinforces our HVDC market and technology leadership, as a partner of choice for enabling a stronger, smarter and greener grid.”

Image caption: The Murraylink HVDC converter station.

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