ABB's $130m link to give Åland renewable independence

Power engineering group ABB is to supply a high-voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission system to link the archipelago of Åland with the Finnish mainland, under a $130m deal with utility Kraftnät Åland.

The order, which encompasses two 100MW HVDC Light converter stations and a pair of 158km 80kV submarine cables, will allow Åland – an autonomous Finnish province at the entrance to the Gulf of Bothnia in the Baltic Sea – to tie more renewable energy into its supply network while switching off the current alternating current (AC) line from Sweden.

“The link will enable the integration of more renewable energy, provide security of power supply and grid reliability to Åland,” says Brice Koch, head of ABB's Power Systems division.

The HVDC system incorporates special features such as active AC voltage support to boost network stability and "black-start" capability, which provides faster grid-restoration in the event of a blackout.

ABB’s system is DC grid-enabled, which means it is kitted out for multi-terminal connections to future power developments such as wind farms.

The islands’ existing fossil-fuel power generation backup facility is planned to be closed down once the new link becomes operational in 2015.