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Siemens builds converter stations for HVDC link between France and Spain

Feb 09, 2011 - iStockAnalyst.com

(Source: Datamonitor)Siemens Energy has announced that it is erecting the power converter stations for a high-voltage direct-current, or HVDC, transmission link between Baixas, to the west of Perpignan in France, and Santa Llogaia, south-west of Figueras in Spain, as components of the Trans-European Network for electrical power.

The installation can transmit a rated power of 2000 megawatts (MW) enough to transport large amounts of electric power with a minimum of transmission losses. The stations use the new HVDC technology HVDC Plus with a transmission voltage of ±320 kilovolts (kV). The distance between the two converter stations is around 65 kilometers, Siemens said.

The power will be transmitted through cables placed underground, in trenches and in a tunnel under the Pyrenees Mountains for some eight kilometers. The purchaser is Inelfe (Interconnecteur Electrique France-Espagne), a project joint venture between the grid operators Reseau de Transport d'Electricite (RTE), Paris, and Red Eléctrica de España (REE), Madrid.

The order booked by Siemens accounts for just under half of the total project value of around EUR700 million. The project is partly funded by the EU and is scheduled for commissioning in late 2013.

The new HVDC link between France and Spain will not only raise the hitherto low power transmission capacity between the two countries. At two times 1000 MW, it is also designed to handle, with low losses, the largest volumes of electrical power that are expected for the future. This makes the HVDC project an important stage in the expansion of the Trans-European network. The HVDC Plus technology used here is a new generation of power converters based on self-commutated multilevel voltage-sourced-converter technology in modular multilevel-converter configuration (VSC MMC).

"We are clearly at the cutting edge of technology in this field. The Inelfe project marks the first time we are using our HVDC Plus technology at the 1000 MW level anywhere in the world," says Udo Niehage, CEO of the Power Transmission Division within Siemens' Energy Sector.

In taking on the France-to-Spain HVDC project, Siemens has accepted the challenge of boosting the capacity of this modern converter technology into a hitherto not achieved order of magnitude to match the d.c. voltage of the underground cables used. At 320 kV, this is at the boundary of what is technically feasible for extruded cables today. It also calls for incorporation of special technical features that can be provided in the required form only by this modern converter technology, the company added.

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