Power highway

ABB has won orders worth more than $540m from the Abengoa Group to assist in the development of the world’s longest power transmission link, which will be constructed in Brazil.


ABB has won orders worth more than $540m (£330m) from the Abengoa Group to assist in the development of the world’s longest power transmission link, which will be constructed in Brazil.


The power highway will link two new hydropower plants in the north west of the country with São Paulo, Brazil’s main economic centre, over a distance of 2,500km. Power will be transmitted at 600kV to minimise transmission losses.


This will be the second transmission project in Brazil using high-voltage direct current (HVDC) at 600kV. The Itaipu project, with two transmission lines built by ABB in 1984 and 1987, is the world’s highest-voltage DC power transmission system currently in operation.


ABB will provide two 3,150MW HVDC converter stations, and an 800MW HVDC back-to-back station to transmit power to São Paulo and the alternating current network in the north west of the country. The stations are scheduled for completion in 2012 and are a part of the Brazilian government’s accelerated development programme.


HVDC has lower losses and a smaller footprint than traditional AC transmission systems, and is able to stabilise intermittent power supplies that might otherwise disrupt the grid.