Smart grid automation: ABB seals deal on Norway-UK line; Alstom wins in UK wind power

ABB part of North Sea Trunkline Supergrid
Described as the Supergrid, the North Sea Network trunkline aims to give Northern European countries better energy security and integration of renewable energy into national electricity grids

In Europe, the transmission system operators responsible for building a 730km North Sea Network trunkline between Norway and the UK have sealed deals with suppliers including ABB, Prysmian and Nexans.

ABB has secured US$450 million for its part in the smart grid automation project to create a 1.4GW interconnector between the Nordic and British energy markets.

The global automation company will supply high-voltage direct current converter stations at both ends of the North Sea Network Link between Norway and the UK.

The deal was first confirmed in the first quarter of 2015 between Norwegian state-owned network operator Statnett and the UK’s electricity and gas utility National Grid.

Energy security and renewables integration

The aim of the project is to increase energy security as well as support the integration of more renewable wind and hydroelectric power flowing into their electricity networks, ABB said in a statement this week.

The NSN link will have the capacity to transmit 1,400 MW of power passing through Norwegian and British waters.

When wind power generation is high and electricity demand low in the UK, power will flow via the link to Norway, allowing it to conserve water in its reservoirs.

When demand is high in the UK but the wind isn’t blowing, electricity from Norway’s hydroelectric plants will flow to the UK.

As part of the order, ABB will design, engineer, supply and commission two ±525 kV, 1,400 MW converter stations, using its Voltage Source Converter technology, called HVDC Light.

One station will be situated in Blyth, UK and one in Kvilldal, Norway.

The 730 kilometer link is believed to be the world’s longest subsea power interconnection, expected to enter commercial operation in 2021.

ABB’s power systems strategy

Commenting on the deal and the company’s involvement in the project, Ulrich Spiesshofer, chief executive officer of ABB, said HVDC is a “key business focus in our next level strategy”.

Mr Spiesshofer also said a number of recent deals for its HVDC Light technology this year underlines that ABB’s Power Systems division is making “solid progress on its return to profitable and sustainable growth.”

Smart substations for offshore wind

Meanwhile, in other smart grid automation news, Alstom announced a win this week to supply substation solutions for three of DONG Energy’s UK offshore wind farms.

The three sites off the Norfolk Coast, in the Irish Sea and in Liverpool Bay will deploy Alstom Grid’s DS Agile, a digital control system for smart substations.

Alstom says it technology features advanced situational awareness features to allow the customer to protect, monitor and control their assets.

The UK is believed to have one of largest offshore wind resource in the world and could contribute 15% of the European Union’s 20% renewable energy target.