ABB has been awarded contracts worth $440m from the State Grid Corporation of China to provide new ultra-high voltage technology for the world’s longest power transmission link.

The ultra high-voltage direct current (UHVDC) link, which runs 2,000km from the Xiangjiaba hydropower plant in western China to the Shanghai in the east, will have a capacity of 6,400MW - enough to meet the average consumption needs of 31 million people in China.

The power link comprises two substations and a power transmission system that transmits electricity at 800 kilovolts, which ABB said will minimise the amount of power lost in transmission and will use less land compared to traditional overhead lines.

ABB’s UHVDC transmission technology uses thryrstor valves equipped with 15cm thrystors (power semiconductors) and an advanced control system.

The UHVDC link is scheduled for completion in 2011.