Hitachi ABB Power Grids is contributing to National Grid’s latest interconnector, IFA2, the second direct current (HVDC) electrical interconnector between Britain and France. As the global technology leader, Hitachi ABB Power Grids is delivering its pioneering high-voltage direct current HVDC Light® system for the project, which is now entering into the final commissioning phase.

Spanning 149 miles (239 kilometres) along the sea bed, the IFA2 HVDC interconnector enables Britain and France to share surplus clean electricity. The 1,000 MW electrical interconnector is now entering its energization test stage, allowing electricity to be transmitted via the cable before going live. This follows the construction period which commenced in 2017.

By the end of its first year in operation, IFA2 will have helped avoid 1.2 million tonnes (Mt) of CO2 from entering the atmosphere – the equivalent to planting 50 million trees.

Niklas Persson, Managing Director of the Grid Integration business in Hitachi ABB Power Grids, said, “In spite of these unprecedented times, we are delighted to reach this key milestone on the IFA2 interconnector project on time, which is accelerating Britain and France towards a carbon-neutral future.” “We look forward to continuing the meticulous testing of the complete system in the coming weeks before fully commissioning the interconnector later this year,” he added.

Jon Butterworth, CEO of National Grid Ventures, said, “While the world is focused on the pandemic and managing the knock-on effects on our lives, we know that progress towards net zero can’t afford to falter and Britain needs to keep up the momentum in reducing harmful carbon emissions.” “Our partner, Hitachi ABB Power Grids, is playing an instrumental role in the delivery of the IFA2 interconnector and is contributing world-class technologies that are helping to realize a cleaner, greener future,” he added.

The IFA2 power cable runs between Portsmouth, Hampshire and near Caen, Normandy. Each convertor station converts alternating current into direct current, and then back again before distribution into the countries. This enables the efficient and reliable transmission of large amounts of electricity over long distances, with minimum losses – the key advantage of HVDC technology.

Hitachi ABB Power Grids’ HVDC Light® technology also incorporates advanced features such as regulating grid fluctuations and power restoration in the event of an outage. These features provide economic benefits for the network operator and reliable electricity supply to the end-users.

The business pioneered commercial HVDC technology more than 65 years ago. It is a highly efficient alternative to alternating current (AC) for transmitting large amounts of electricity with higher efficiency and lower electrical losses. HVDC contributes to the secure and stable transmission of power across networks that operate on different voltages and frequencies. This makes the technology suitable for many key power applications, enabling the integration of renewable energy from offshore wind farms and interconnections with AC networks.

Image source: Courtesy of Hitachi ABB Power Grids

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