The growing need to integrate and transmit renewable energy into the grid and to interconnect different power markets is a driving force for investing in High-Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) transmission systems. The possibility of transmitting large amounts of power over long distances with very low losses while having a high controllability, makes HVDC a key technology in the development of power systems with increased renewable energy sources.
The LitPol Link, connecting the power grids of Poland and Lithuania, is part of the European Union’s Baltic Ring initiative to interconnecting the grids of nine countries around the Baltic Sea. The LitPol Link was the final connection closing the Ring.
The 500 megawatt LitPol Link interconnection deploys ABB’s HVDC technology in a “back-to-back” solution, which enables electricity to be transmitted between the grids of the two countries. A conventional alternating current (AC) connection would not be feasible as the Lithuanian and Polish power grids are not synchronized. HVDC technology overcomes this constraint while also providing additional capabilities such as power reversal on-demand. ABB Ability MACH control and protection features enhance grid reliability and efficiency, bringing benefits to the owner, operator and consumers.
A pooling of diverse energy sources brings many advantages. In times when one resource is in short supply or expensive power can be supplied from more available or less expensive resources. Additionally, peak demand loads in different regions can also be addressed by efficiently transferring power.
HVDC interconnections, as in the Baltic Ring, facilitate increased integration of renewables by offering the possibility to combine wind and hydro power resources, often located far from consumption centers. When wind power generation is low, hydro power can compensate and vice versa.
ABB pioneered HVDC technology 60 years ago and has been awarded approximately 120 HVDC projects representing a total installed capacity of more than 130,000 MW, accounting for about half of the global installed base. The company also pioneered VSC-based HVDC Light technology 20 years ago and is the market leader, now having delivered 20 of the 26 VSC HVDC projects commissioned around the world.