Offshore Wind Power ABB Takes Down $1 Billion North Sea Contract

Swiss engineering group ABB closed the largest power transmission order in its long history, a $1 billion contract to connect planned offshore North Sea wind farms to the German electricity grid. Upon expected completion in 2015, transmission lines will deliver enough clean, renewable electrical power to supply more than 1.5 million households, while avoiding more than 3 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions, according to an ABB press release.

“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. ”ABB is uniquely positioned with in-house manufacturing capability of converter stations, cables and semiconductors, the essential components of HVDC systems, and has invested significantly in these technologies.”

Dutch-German electrical power utility TenneT awarded the contract, which calls for ABB to design, engineer, supply and install the world’s largest offshore high-voltage direct current (HVDC) system, one with a rating of more than 900 megawatts (MW) that will keep electrical losses under 1% per converter station. This includes an offshore platform, offshore and onshore converter stations and the interconnecting land and sea cable systems.

The electricity will be coming from the 400 MW Gode Wind II, construction of which is expected to begin next year, and other offshore wind farms approved by Germany’s Federal Agency for Marine Shipping and Hydrography.

The electricity will flow to an offshore HVDC converter station, which will transmit it via 135 kilometers of underwater and underground cables to an onshore station on the German coast. From there it will feed electricity into Germany’s mainland grid. ABB will make use of HVDC Light transmission technology, which the company says “offers environmental benefits such as neutral electromagnetic fields and compact converter stations.”

The offshore wind power will help Germany meet its plan to close down its nuclear power stations by 2022. Germany intends to double its wind power capacity by 2020. Wind power currently makes up about 8%, more than 27 gigawatts (GW) of its power supply.

Source: cleantechnica

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