The Swedish and Lithuanian transmission system operators (TSOs) have awarded the contract for the construction of a major new power link in Europe to ABB.

The 300 kV HVDC NordBalt interconnection will provide a new link between the Nordic and Baltic regions and is a key part of the European Commission’s agenda to further integrate Europe’s energy markets.

The $580 million order – awarded by Svenska Kraftnät and Litgrid Turtas AB to ABB – comprises the design, supply and commissioning of two HVDC converter stations and a cable to transmit 700 MW of electricity over a distance of more than 400 km.

“The new transmission link, based on HVDC Light technology will increase capacity, facilitate power exchange, enhance grid reliability and improve the security of electric supply at both ends,” said Peter Leupp, head of ABB’s Power Systems division.

ABB will design, engineer, supply and commission two 700 MW, ±300 kV converter stations using ABB’s HVDC Light technology, one in Nybro, Sweden, the other in Klaipeda, Lithuania. The order also includes the supply and installation of two 300 kV underwater cables, each 400 km long, and land cables of the same voltage in Sweden and Lithuania.

The system incorporates special features such as active AC voltage support providing greater network stability and black-start capability for faster grid restoration after a blackout. The system is capable of being integrated into a future pan-European grid with the evolution of the DC grid concept, under discussion around the world.

The project will be supported by €175 million of EU funding and is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2015.