HVDC technology will be used for connecting offshore wind farms for the first time in the UK

ABB, Aibel

Image: ABB and Aibel to supply offshore converter platform for UK offshore wind farm. Photo: Courtesy of SSE.

SSE Renewables and its joint venture partner Equinor have selected ABB and Aibel to supply offshore converter platform and HVDC power transmission system for the 3.6GW Dogger Bank offshore wind farm.

Dogger Bank wind farm includes three individual projects with 1.2GW capacity – Creyke Beck A, Creyke Beck B, and Teesside A – in the North Sea, about 130km from the UK’s Yorkshire coast.

The wind farm can power 4.5 million UK homes per year

The wind farm can power 4.5 million homes annually, which is equivalent to nearly 5% of the UK’s estimated electricity generation.

Under the terms of the agreement, Aibel will deliver two high-voltage direct current (HVDC) offshore converter platforms for the Creyke Beck A and Creyke Beck B projects, while ABB will supply HVDC Light converter system for the projects, connecting the offshore wind farm to the UK power grid.

ABB and Aibel have options to provide platform and transmission solutions to Dogger Bank’s Teesside A project at the same wind farm and will be confirmed in due course.

Each project will have a single HVDC transmission link connection between the wind turbine array and the onshore transmission network.

While ABB will supply the HVDC converter systems at either end of each link, Aibel will provide the associated offshore platforms.

ABB and Aibel are focused on developing and optimising designs for HVDC systems. Dogger Bank will be the first offshore wind project to use HVDC technology. The HVDC electrical grid system will offer an efficient and stable transmission from the wind farm to the UK transmission network, along with higher control capabilities.

Aibel claims that its converter platforms have a lean design, with steel jacket structure and no living quarter or helideck. Normally, the platforms will be unmanned and will be operated from the shore and accessed only by a Service Operations Vessel.

According to ABB, the HVDC Light converter system will convert alternating current (AC) to 66kV from each wind farm to direct current (DC) before transmitting it onshore via HVDC transmission links to a converter station where the transmitted power will be converted back to 400kV AC for export to the National Grid substations at Creyke Beck in east Yorkshire and Lackenby in Teesside.

SSE Renewables capital projects director Paul Cooley said: “Dogger Bank is truly a world-leading project, pushing new boundaries in the provision of ground-breaking technology to deliver low-carbon energy generation to help achieve the UK’s net zero ambition by 2050.

“The appointment of Aibel and ABB as project partners will ensure that the latest grid solution technology is deployed to support our successful project delivery.”

ABB power grids president Claudio Facchin said: “Winning the contracts from SSE Renewables and Equinor for the landmark Dogger Bank project underscores ABB’s innovative offshore wind technology and expertise. It also highlights the success of ABB Power Grids’ customer partnerships, both on design optimization as well as on the business model level.

“ABB is committed to delivering sustainable solutions with pioneering technologies and in the Dogger Bank project we are helping to make offshore wind competitive and thus contributing to a stronger, smarter and greener grid.”