The contract awarded by the state-owned electric utility, Société nationale d'électricité (SNEL), is associated with the Inga-Kolwezi high-voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission link.

The contract's scope includes studies of systems, supply of important equipment like high voltage apparatus along with commissioning.

The HVDC link transmits electricity generated by the Congo River-located Inga hydropower station to Katanga district. Besides, the 1,700km link built by ABB in 1982, exports the surplus electricity to the Southern African Power Pool countries.

ABB Power Grids president Claudio Facchin said: “We are pleased to continue our long association with the Inga-Kolwezi HVDC Link and contribute to the strengthening of the DRC’s power infrastructure. This upgrade will boost supply of clean hydropower to industrial and domestic customers.

“This order reiterates our leading HVDC position, strategic focus on the service business and our growth drive in Africa. It also reinforces our position as a partner of choice for enabling a stronger, smarter and greener grid.”

ABB will undertake a refurbishment of the link to increase its transmission capacity, improve grid reliability and extend its life span. The task will also have to make sure of efficient transmission of hydro-generated energy in the region.

The retrofit from ABB will look to achieve an increase in the link’s existing transmission capacity of 520MW to 1GW. This in turn, is expected to secure electricity supplies to the mining area in Katanga and bolster the electricity system in the country.