ABB has secured a contract from Western Power Distribution (WPD) for the deployment of a 20MW flexible power link in Devon, Southwest England.

The link is part of a trial being undertaken by WPD, called the Network Equilibrium project, to connect two separate 33kV distribution network groups for balancing voltage and power flows.

ABB will supply and install a back-to-back static frequency converter solution for power transfers across separate distribution grid groups.

The Swiss automation firm said its solution will help balance generation and demand locally, while allowing additional capacity to be released more rapidly.

The link is expected to increase local capacity by about 344MW without traditional reinforcement.

The project is being funded through the low carbon networks fund. If the project is successful, the use of flexible links could potentially release 1.5GW of capacity in the UK by 2050.

ABB grid integration business managing director Oleg Aleinikov said: “This innovative flexible power link application helps pave the way for the deployment of more intelligent and dynamic networks in the future.

“The entire power value chain is seeing radical changes on the supply and demand side, calling for a more flexible and smarter grid, and ABB is enabling this through innovative technologies, as part of our Next Level strategy.”

WPD is the distribution network operator for the Midlands, South West England and South Wales. It is responsible for providing  electricity to about 7.8 million customers in the UK, from the point of generation to homes and businesses.

Image: ABB to deploy flexible power link in UK. Photo: Courtesy of ABB.