525-kV HVDC System targets Renewable Energy Installations

August 20, 2014 by Jeff Shepard

ABB Group has announced a breakthrough in cable technology. It has successfully developed and tested a 525-kV extruded high-voltage direct current (HVDC) cable system to make renewable energy installations more efficient and cost-effective. This innovation more than doubles the power capacity to about 2,600MW from 1,000MW. It will also expand the cable's reach to distances of 1,500 kilometers, up from less than 1,000 kilometers, while keeping transmission losses under 5 percent.

The new cable offers a 64 percent increase over 320kV, currently the highest voltage deployed for this type of technology. The 525-kV cable system can be deployed in subsea and underground applications, making it well-suited for efficient power delivery through densely populated or environmentally sensitive areas or coastal and open-sea applications.

“This major technology breakthrough will change the feasibility of renewable energy projects and play a defining role in using underground and subsea high voltage cables to integrate renewables over long distances,” said Ulrich Spiesshofer, CEO of ABB.

By enabling more power over greater distances with reduced losses, ABB’s new 525-kV cable technology offers solutions for countries and utilities seeking to enable their electricity transmission systems to integrate more renewable energy being generated by distant solar and wind installations. A single pair of 525-kV extruded HVDC cables could for example transmit enough power from giant offshore wind farms in to supply two million households.

The new technology offers savings in capital and operational expenses. It also supports the development of dc grids where ABB removed a key technology hurdle with the development of the hybrid HVDC breaker. The innovative cable system consists of cables, utilizing a new dc cross-linked polyethylene (XLPE) insulation material developed with Borealis, a recognized industry leader, as well as termination and joints manufactured by ABB.