ABB selected to provide link worth $900 million for power superhighway in India

Multi-terminal ultrahigh-voltage direct current system will have record 8,000 MW capacity

Zurich, Switzerland, April 2, 2011 – ABB, the leading power and automation technology group, has been selected by Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd. (PGCIL) to deliver an ultrahigh-voltage transmission system, worth about $900 million. The link will supply hydropower from northeastern India to the city of Agra over a distance of 1,728 kilometers.

ABB has been chosen to execute the North-East Agra transmission project together with BHEL (Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited), a leading Indian government-owned power company that will deliver the remainder of the project worth more than $1.1 billion in total. The order will be booked on completion of financing requirements.

The ultrahigh-voltage direct current (UHVDC) link operating at 800 kilovolts (kV) will have a converter capacity of 8,000 megawatts (MW), the highest ever built. When operating at full capacity, the link will be able to supply enough electricity to serve 90 million people based on average national consumption. Using ultrahigh-voltage minimizes transmission losses and improves efficiency.

“The North-East Agra transmission link sets a new standard in ultrahigh-voltage power transmission and underlines ABB’s global leadership in HVDC technology,” said Peter Leupp, head of ABB’s Power Systems division. ”We are pleased to continue supporting India in the development of its power infrastructure.”

The system will be the world’s first UHVDC link with three converter stations: Two “sending” stations will convert power from AC to DC for transmission over a single power line that will pass through the narrow Siliguri Corridor and deliver electricity to the third, “receiving” station in Agra where it will be converted back into AC for distribution to end users.

The multi-terminal solution considerably reduces costs compared to the alternative of running separate power links from multiple hydropower plants to Agra. The project will be executed on a turnkey basis including design, system engineering, supply, installation and commissioning. This is ABB’s second multi-terminal HVDC link: The first was constructed in North America in 1990-92.

UHVDC transmission is a development of HVDC, a technology pioneered by ABB more than 50 years ago, and represents the biggest capacity and efficiency leap in over two decades. ABB is a world leader in HVDC transmission technology, with many pioneering achievements and over 70 HVDC projects around the world with a combined transmission capacity around 60,000 MW.

ABB ( is a leader in power and automation technologies that enable utility and industry customers to improve their performance while lowering environmental impact. The ABB Group of companies operates in around 100 countries and employs about 124,000 people.

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