ABB has received $85m contract from Canadian utility Hydro-Quebec (HQ) to upgrade its 800kV air-insulated switchgear (AIS) substations and transmission grid with circuit breakers, power transformers and shunt reactors.

The upgrade is driven by the increasing demand for power and the need to integrate new sources of renewable energy.

HQ operates one of the largest 800 kV networks in the world, a large part of which was originally developed in the 1960s and 70s and ABB has been involved in the modernization of its power infrastructure over decades.

“We are pleased to continue supporting Hydro-Québec, in their ongoing efforts to strengthen Canada’s power infrastructure,” said Claudio Facchin, President of ABB’s Power Grids division. “ABB’s leading-edge technologies will help boost the integration of renewables, deliver additional power and enhance transfer of electricity over long distances. Ultra-high voltage transmission is a key focus area within our Next Level strategy and a key differentiator for ABB.”

As part of the project, ABB will design, deliver and commission the state-of-the-art circuit breakers with polymeric insulators, to enhance safety and robustness. It will also design, manufacture and deliver 450 megavolt-ampere (MVA) autotransformers and 735 kV shunt reactors.

Circuit breakers are a vital component of substations, essential for safe, reliable and efficient switching operations. ABB’s live tank breakers are the most widely deployed circuit breakers in operation around the world, providing a cost and eco-efficient, flexible and well-proven solution.

Transformers are integral components of an electrical grid, and essential for the efficient and safe conversion of electricity between different voltage systems. ABB’s transformer portfolio includes power transformers rated up to 1,200 kilovolts, dry- and liquid-distribution transformers, traction and special application transformers as well as related services and components.