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ABB has commissioned the East West Interconnector for Irish transmission system operator EirGrid. ABB says the 500 MW, underwater transmission connection is the highest-capacity link of its kind, based on voltage source converter (VSC) technology, to go into commercial operation.

According to the company, the HVDC Light interconnector establishes an important link between the Irish and U.K. grids, enabling cross-border power flows and enhancing grid reliability and security of electricity supplies. The new link also facilitates power trading between the two countries and connects Ireland to the European grid. As Ireland expands its wind power capacity, ABB says the country can export surplus electricity to the U.K. and can import power when required.

A 262 km cable system connects Woodland in County Meath, Ireland, and Deeside in north Wales. ABB notes the cables are equipped with extruded polymeric insulation to help endure the severe conditions of the Irish Sea. HVDC Light’s “black start” capability can also help restore power quickly in the event of an outage, without the aid of external energy sources, ABB adds.

“This is yet another example of the growing role of HVDC transmission technology when enabling key emerging trends like integration of renewables and interconnections,” comments Brice Koch, head of ABB’s Power Systems business.



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