Power and automation technology group ABB, Zurich, Switzerland, announced a milestone achievement when it commissioned the Xiangjiaba-Shanghai project, the world's first ultrahigh-voltage direct current (UHVDC) transmission link in commercial operation. ABB was the main technology supplier to State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC) and the project was completed in 30 months, one year ahead of schedule.
The approximately 800 kV Xiangjiaba-Shanghai UHVDC link has the capacity to transmit up to 7,200 MW of power from the Xiangjiaba hydropower plant in southwest China to Shanghai, the country's leading industrial and commercial center about 2,000 kilometers away. The new link is able to meet the electricity needs of about 24 million people, and sets a new benchmark in terms of voltage levels and transmission capacity, superseding the 600 kV (kilovolt) Itaipu transmission line in Brazil, which was also delivered by ABB.
The high-capacity power link uses a single overhead line, occupyping less space than the existing system, and boasts transmission losses of less than 7 percent, also considerably less than the existing 500 kV system.