Offshore wind-power generation continues to grow in Europe, and that spells O-P-P-O-R-T-U-N-I-T-Y for companies that build the high-voltage direct current (HVDC) infrastructure needed to efficiently move the power produced to the mainland. Courtesy the Dutch-German transmission grid operator TenneT, two more such companies just nabbed hefty offshore link-up contracts: Zurich-based ABB and the German giant Siemens.
ABB said its $1 billion order is to “design, engineer, supply and install the offshore platform, the offshore and onshore converter stations and the land and sea cable systems” that will bring power from North Sea wind-power plants to Germany’s grid. Gode Wind II, a 400-megawatt (MW) capacity plant in the North Sea, will be the main power generator, but the HVDC system going in will be rated at more than 900 megawatts (MW), allowing for connection to additional plants.
ABB said its system, comprising some 100 miles of underwater and underground cable and capable of supplying more than 1.5 million homes with power, will be the biggest ever. But the one Siemens is doing, also in the North Sea, is pretty big, too; the company said the HelWin2 system will link the Amrumbank West offshore plant with a rating of 690 MW.
Both companies touted the efficiency of their HVDC systems in taking the alternating current produced from whirring turbines and moving it great distances. ABBA said electrical losses would be less than 1 percent per converter station using what it calls HVDC Light, while Siemens said its own HVDC Plus “is at the cutting edge of technology in this field.” Both systems are expected to go live by 2015.