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ABB says it has won an order worth around $260 million from the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA), a power marketing agency within the U.S. Department of Energy, to upgrade the existing Celilo HVDC converter station in Oregon. ABB says this station, commissioned in 1970, is an important part of the electricity link between the Pacific Northwest and Southern California. The order was booked in the fourth quarter of 2012.

The Celilo converter station is located at the north end of the Pacific DC Intertie, also known as Path 65, which has a capacity of 3.1 GW and originates near the Columbia River. This intertie is 846 miles long and connects to the Sylmar converter station in the south.

The Pacific DC intertie transmits electricity from the Pacific Northwest to as many as 3 million households in the greater Los Angeles area, ABB says. Key components of the station upgrade include valves, controls and transformers, as well as switchgear and cooling equipment. In addition to modernizing the converter station, the upgrade will make it feasible to boost capacity up to 3.8 GW. ABB carried out a similar upgrade of the Sylmar converter station in 2004.

“The converter station upgrade will enhance the reliability of this important HVDC link, thereby reducing the risk of blackouts and helping to secure power supply in the region,” says Brice Koch, head of ABB's Power Systems division.



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