ABB has been chosen to execute the North-East Agra transmission project together with Indian government-owned power company BHEL (Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited), who will deliver the remainder of the project worth more than $1.1B in total. The order will be booked on completion of financing requirements.

The ultrahigh-voltage direct current (UHVDC) link operating at 800kV will have a converter capacity of 8000MW, the highest ever built. When operating at full capacity, the link will be able to supply enough electricity to serve 90M people based on average national consumption. Using ultrahigh-voltage minimizes transmission losses and improves efficiency.

“The North-East Agra transmission link sets a new standard in ultrahigh-voltage power transmission and underlines ABB’s global leadership in HVDC technology,” said Peter Leupp, head of ABB’s Power Systems division. ”We are pleased to continue supporting India in the development of its power infrastructure.”

The system will be the world’s first UHVDC link with three converter stations: Two “sending” stations will convert power from AC to DC for transmission over a single power line that will pass through the narrow Siliguri Corridor and deliver electricity to the third, “receiving” station in Agra where it will be converted back into AC for distribution to end users.

The multi-terminal solution considerably reduces costs compared to the alternative of running separate power links from multiple hydropower plants to Agra. The project will be executed on a turnkey basis including design, system engineering, supply, installation and commissioning. This is ABB’s second multi-terminal HVDC link – the first was constructed in North America in 1990-92.

UHVDC transmission is a development of HVDC, a technology pioneered by ABB more than 50 years ago.