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ABB wins $35 million HVDC upgrade order in Canada

Improvements designed to enhance grid reliability while improving efficiency and power availability.

The contract awarded to ABB entails the upgrading of Hydro-Québec's 350 MW Madawaska high-voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission link, which connects the grids of New Brunswick and Hydro Québec in southeast Canada. The order was booked in the second quarter of 2014.

The project scope includes installation of ABB’s MACH control and protection system, as well as the upgrade of the valves and valve cooling system. The back-to-back converter station has been in operation for more than 25 years, and the modernization is expected to significantly improve grid reliability and help reduce maintenance needs. The new station is scheduled to go into full operation in 2016.

“This upgrade will enhance power availability, reduce outages and improve grid reliability in the region,” said Claudio Facchin, head of ABB's Power Systems division. “The project also reiterates our continued focus and commitment to growing our service business.”

ABB has built up significant experience in upgrade of HVDC links around the world as many such installations are coming of age. This is the 21st major HVDC modernization project and the 15th upgrade of control and protection systems awarded to ABB since 1990.

Hydro-Québec generates, transmits and distributes electricity, mainly using renewable energy sources, in particular hydroelectricity. It is Canada’s leading electric utility and among the biggest in North America.

ABB pioneered HVDC technology nearly 60 years ago and has been awarded around 90 HVDC projects representing a total installed capacity of more than 95,000 MW, which accounts for about half of the global installed base.

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