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GE to deliver Europe's first medium-voltage direct current link

EBR Staff Writer Published 17 May 2017

GE Energy Connections is set to deliver a medium-voltage direct current (MVDC) link for Scottish Power Energy Network's Angle-DC project in the UK.

Claimed to be the first of its kind in Europe, the MVDC link is part of the project which will see the conversion of an existing 33kV AC circuit to DC operation using a novel network reinforcement technique.

The Angle-DC project aims to boost the transfer of growing renewable energy between Anglesey and Mainland North Wales through the new MVDC link.

According to GE, the link will bring about improvement in electricity flow and control in voltage. Besides, conversion of AC assets to DC operation will improve the thermal capability of the circuit, said the US-based manufacturer.

The MVDC link is expected to address the problems by the uncontrolled power flows. Caused by rising electricity demands, the uncontrolled flows put the electric system at risk by crossing thermal limits of the overhead lines and cables.

Scottish Power Energy Networks Future Networks lead engineer Kevin Smith said: “As electricity demand and the connection of renewable generation continues to grow, the existing network infrastructure struggles to cope and additional reinforcement becomes necessary.

“The Angle-DC project, being the first of its kind, will hopefully demonstrate that using MVDC on existing assets can be a more innovative alternative to simply building more substations along with the connecting underground cables and overhead lines.”

GE's power conversion AC-to-DC converters will be located at a 33kV substation located in Bangor and at a similar substation on the Isle of Anglesey.

Both the substations will see the 12 units of the MV7000 converters convert 33kVAC to ±27kVDC. This will be done through the existing AC lines connecting the two substations.

An asset management tool dubbed VISOR and a data management software named Data Historian will also be installed by GE.

GE Power Conversion industry segment leader Sascha Heinecke said: “The project is first of its kinds in the UK and Europe. This is a significant step forward in the power transmission and distribution segment.

“With the deployment of digital tools such as Visor and Historian, the success of this project could impact how grids across the world are future-proofed.”


Image: The substation in Bangor. Photo: courtesy of General Electric.