ABB has been chosen by the energy companies Equinor and SSE Renewables to connect the world’s largest offshore windfarms to the transmission network of the UK using their high voltage direct current (HVDC) converter systems.
This will be the first time that the HVDC technology will be used in the UKs offshore wind market to connect it to the UK grid, the windfarms that are to be connected are the two situated in the Dogger Bank area of the North Sea. The technology is currently used in connecting international interconnectors to the UK grid.
ABB are to supply their patented, highly compact HVDC systems whilst Aibel are to deliver the two HVDC offshore converter platforms.
The windfarm developments at Dogger Bank consist of three 1.2 gigawatt projects, Teesside A and Creyke Beck A and B. These developments are a joint venture between SSE Renewables and Equinor.
At this moment in time ABB has the contract to connect Creyke Beck A and B.
Dogger Bank is seen as an attractive location for offshore windfarms because it is located far from the coast (130 km from the Yorkshire coast) but the water is relatively shallow so it means the traditional fixed foundation wind turbine design can be used. The three developments that are underway there are expected to power around 4.5 million homes and increased the current offshore wind capacity by 3.6 gigawatts. The first of the three developments is planned to be in operation by 2023.
The HDVC converter system provided by ABB will convert alternating current which is originally at 66 kilovolts to a direct current. This will take place on the offshore platforms produced and built by Aibel. From here, the current will be transferred onshore by HVDC transfer links.
Once the current has reached the onshore converter stations, the current will be transformed back to 400 kilovolts of alternating current. From here the current is transmitted onto two nearby substations of the national grid.
The president of ABB power grids business, Claudio Facchin has stated that this contract shows the expertise and innovation that ABB has within this sector. He went on to say that the contract also highlights the high level customer relationships ABB have with their consumers, on a design optimisation level but also a business model level.
This contract shows that ABB are committed to providing sustainable solutions with advanced technological solutions. The Dogger Bank project is making wind power a more competitive alternative and therefore ABB are contributing to a smarter, stronger and greener national grid.
Back in 2016 was when ABB and Aibel first announced their partnership on the design, optimisation and engineering of offshore wind farm connectors.
Commercial HVDC technology was first pioneered by ABB over 60 years ago and it is seen as one of the most efficient ways of transmitting large amounts of electricity over a long distance, due to the fact electrical losses are very low.
The use of these connectors is seen as a huge milestone, said the vice president for Dogger Bank at Equinor, Halfdan Brustad. The ground breaking technology provides a solution to the problem of transporting the electricity, and makes it a very competitive option. This solution will open up different opportunities and markets within the UK and the collaboration between Aibel and ABB brings out the expertise within two different companies to come together for the Dogger Bank project.