Korea distribution
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ABB has clinched a major order from South Korea’s largest electric utility to build two new HVDC converter stations linking the mainland with Jeju, the country’s largest island.

The deal with KEPCO (Korea Electric Power Corporation) will see one station on the mainland convert power from alternative current to direct current and transfer it via undersea cable to Jeju, where the other station will convert the current back to AC for distribution.

The converter stations will provide an additional 200 MW of power to Jeju, which is one of the country’s nine provinces and currently receives most of its power from the mainland via two HVDC links that transport 700 MW of electricity. 

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ABB’s own voltage source conversion technology called HVDC Light will also enable KEPCO to operate Jeju’s existing interconnections more efficiently, by providing additional stability and by minimizing the risk of outages. 

The new converter stations are seen by KEPCO as key infrastructure developments that will help South Korea realize its target to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 37 per cent by 2030.

Claudio Facchin, President of ABB’s Power Grids business, said said the HVDC technology would “enable a greener and stronger grid and benefit both the local population, as well as the millions of tourists, who visit Jeju Island every year”.

He added that ABB “is committed to supporting South Korea’s goal to a significant reduction of carbon emissions. Our partnership with KEPCO is yet another important milestone toward achieving this ambition.”

ABB says its HVDC Light technology is an “efficient, cost-effective and environmentally friendly way to transport large amounts of electricity over long distances, with minimal electrical losses of around 1 per cent”.

Its design incorporates like regulating grid fluctuations and fast power restoration in the event of an outage.

At the end of last year, Japanese multinational Hitachi agreed to acquire the power grid business of ABB, and that deal is expected to be completed in 2020.

This story first appeared on our sister-site, Power Engineering International.