ABB commissions million-volt switchgear

Tuesday, 07 April, 2009

ABB has recently commissioned switchgear rated to handle more than one million volts (1100 kV). The ultrahigh-voltage (UHV) gas-insulated switchgear (GIS) has a switching capability of 6900 MW, which means it can turn on or off power the electrical consumption equivalent of a small country inhabited by several million people, within milliseconds.

ABB designed, tested and commissioned the GIS for a pilot project launched in 2006 by State Grid Corporation of China to demonstrate the feasibility of AC power transmission at ultrahigh voltage.

The GIS is a central component of UHV electricity transmission designed to carry huge amounts of electricity over vast distances with very low losses. ABB completed the assignment in two years with technology partner and Chinese switchgear manufacturer Xian Shiky.

State Grid announced plans to invest more than US$14 billion in the next three to four years to expand its UHV network. UHV transmission reduces power losses and requires a smaller transmission corridor than conventional technologies. It is particularly suitable for countries like China, where energy resources are often far from the centres of power consumption.

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