Swiss engineering conglomerate ABB has won a contract to upgrade the Baltic Cable high-voltage direct current (HVDC) link connecting the German and Swedish grids.

The contract was awarded by Baltic Cable, a subsidiary of Statkraft. The Baltic Cable link is a 250km link runs beneath the Baltic Sea and interconnects the German and Swedish electricity grids.

As part of the contract, ABB will supply its Ability MACH technology to upgrade the control and protection system of the link, which can transmit up to 600MW and a voltage of 450kV, the highest operating voltage in Germany.

The link was built in 1994, with an intention to increase efficiency of power utilisation between the two countries. It uses the advantages of differing patterns of power generation and consumption in both the countries, pooling energy resources and allowing for the exchange of electricity.

ABB claims that the MACH control system can act like the brain of the HVDC link, after the upgrade, by monitoring, controlling and protecting the technology in the converters stations. It uses a fault registration and remote control function system. Apart from installing the MACH control system, ABB will also replace other equipment at the Baltic Cable link to increase efficiency and reliability.

ABB’s Power Grids division, Grid Integration business head Patrick Fragman said: “The modernization of the Baltic Cable HVDC interconnection will not only enhance performance and reliability but also extend the lifespan of this important link.

“This project reiterates our strategic focus on service and digital technologies. It also reinforces our market and technology-leading position in HVDC as a partner of choice for enabling a stronger, smarter and greener grid.”

In July, ABB received a $30m order to upgrade the Nordic HVDC link. The order was placed by Svenska Kraftnät in Sweden and Energinet in Denmark.

As per the order ABB supplied its MACH technology to upgrade the control and protection system of the Konti-Skan high-voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission link. This link was constructed 52 years ago and it connects the electricity grids of Sweden and Denmark.

Image: ABB receives order from Statkraft to upgrade the Baltic Cable link. Photo: Courtesy of ABB.