ABB has upgraded the three high voltage direct current (HVDC) converter stations on the power transmission link between Qu├ębec, Canada and New England, US, to enable clean, reliable hydropower trade.

The 1,500km multi-terminal link upgrade work is a part of a contract awarded to ABB in 2013 by Canadian and US utilities Hydro-Québec and National Grid to boost supply of renewable energy and grid stability over coming years.

Under the contract, ABB is responsible for the replacement of the link’s 20-year-old control and protection systems with the new modular advanced control systems (MACH) for HVDC equipment in order to ensure a continued, reliable and highly controllable power supply.

The MACH control and protection system, which acts like the brain of the HVDC link, is designed to offer a high degree of integration capability to handle control and protection functions.

Additionally, the system features advanced fault registration and remote control functions.

The 2,000MW interconnection, which is claimed to be the world’s first multi-terminal link, is designed to provide power generated from the La Grande II hydroelectric generating complex near James Bay in eastern Canada to Sandy Pond, near Boston, Massachusetts in the US.

The contract scope also includes upgrade of two cable transition stations and a control and protection system replica for a test center in Canada.

ABB Power Grids division Grid systems business managing director Patrick Fragman said: “We pioneered HVDC technology and continue to lead the way through innovation, as with the latest control system being installed for this project.

“The upgrade of the world’s first multi-terminal link reinforces ABB’s commitment to supporting customers through the lifecycle, and reiterates our focus on the service business, as part of our Next Level Strategy.”


Image: The La Grande II hydroelectric generating complex near James Bay in eastern Canada. Photo: courtesy of ABB AB.