In 1954, ABB introduced a new way of transmitting electricity across long distances with minimal losses, with the world’s first commercial high-voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission link between Sweden and the island of Gotland. The key innovation that enabled the 100-km mostly undersea power link was electrical current converter technology that converted alternating current to DC and vice-versa.
In 2017, this first commercial HVDC transmission link was recognized as a Milestone achievement by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).
Today, ABB remains the global leader in HVDC, having installed around half of the transmission links around the world. As well as being the technology of choice for transmitting power efficiently and reliably over long distances, HVDC is ideally suited to integrating distant renewable energy sources, such as off-shore wind parks, into the power grid.
In the 1990s, ABB further developed HVDC by introducing a voltage sourced converter (VSC) solution named HVDC Light®, a more compact solution with increased flexibility for higher grid reliability.
In April 2017, ABB wrote the next chapter of this technology, doubling power capacity and transmission distance to 3,000 megawatts and 2,000 km respectively.