ABB, a power and technology group, has installed the world’s highest-voltage offshore converter station in the North Sea. Alternating current generated by three wind farms, which are off the shore of Germany, will be converted at this new station into high-voltage direct current (HVDC) for transmission to the mainland.
The station is 320 kilovolts (320,000 volts) and it has an 800 MW (800,000 kW) power transmission capacity. It weighs a whopping 9,300 metric tonnes (a metric tonne is 2204 pounds, so that is 20.5 million pounds!). It was transferred 75 km offshore by a barge. It was then lifted by the world’s largest crane vessel Thialf, and positioned on top of the jacket which was already installed.
“Putting such a huge platform in place is one of the most delicate operations in the delivery of an offshore transmission link, requiring strong cooperation between the many stakeholders involved,” said Brice Koch, Head of ABB’s Power Systems division. “This is an important project milestone in the delivery of this HVDC offshore wind connection and we are pleased it went smoothly.”
This connection is called the DolWin 1. The DolWin 1 offshore wind connection is expected to avoid 3 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per year by replacing fossil-fuel-based electricity generation. As is the case with all power plants, a wind farm is only as good as the transmission system it uses!
The creation of these transmission systems enables the transmission of wind power offshore to dry land where it is needed.