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UK firm wins $100m contract for Chinese power line

UK firm ABB has secured a multi-billion dollar contract to supply its technology to one of China’s largest transmissions lines in over two decades

800 kV link will be State Grid Corporation of China’s newest and highest capacity transmission system when commissioned in 2014

Leading power and automation technology group, ABB, has won orders worth over USD 100 million to supply converter transformers and components for a high-voltage direct current power transmission line that runs from north-west to central China.

The Hami-Zhengzhou ultrahigh-voltage direct current, an 800 kilovolt (kV) link, will be State Grid Corporation of China’s newest and highest capacity transmission system when commissioned in 2014. The project will leverage the rich coal and wind power resources in western China and deliver much-needed electricity to the central region.

The transformers and components to be supplied by ABB, are key elements of the 2,210km power highway, which will have a record-breaking 8,000 megawatt (MW) rated transmission capacity. The transformers will be installed at the Hami sending station where they will convert power to DC, and transmit it to the city of Zhengzhou. The components include bushings, tap changers, composite insulators and insulation kits.

Zhengzhou has a population of around 9 million people and is the capital and largest city of Henan province in north-central China. Due to its strategic location, Zhengzhou is attracting investment as well as migrants from other areas, transforming the city into one of the largest economic centres and fastest growing cities in inland China. Greater Zhengzhou was named among China’s 13 emerging megacities in a recent Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) report.

“ABB has a strong track record and a well-established engineering, manufacturing and R&D footprint in China and we are pleased to continue supporting the on-going development of the country’s power infrastructure,” said Bernhard Jucker, head of ABB’s Power Products division. “We have the knowledge and capacity to manufacture such high-end transformers and critical components.”

UHVDC transmission is helping to redress China’s energy imbalance by efficiently moving large amounts of power across vast distances to areas of need with minimal losses. It enables the efficient integration of renewable energy, reduces dependency on fossil fuels, helps cut carbon dioxide emissions, and is particularly suitable for large countries like China, where consumption centres are often located far from power sources. UHVDC is a technological development of HVDC, pioneered by ABB nearly 60 years ago, and is the biggest leap in transmission capacity and efficiency in more than two decades.