ABB Group (Zurich, Switzerland) and Hitachi Ltd. (Tokyo, Japan) have said they will form a joint venture company to provide high voltage direct current (HVDC) electricity transmission systems in Japan.
The company, owned 51 percent by Hitachi and 49 percent by ABB and based in Tokyo, will design, engineer and supply HVDC systems to projects in Japan and contribute to the evolution of Japan's electricity grid. In addition Hitachi and ABB said they would explore further strengthening of the relationship and opportunities to widen the scope of future collaboration.
Although most power grids around the world use AC transmission, HVDC is used for transmitting electrical power between two AC grid systems. The system is good for long distance transmission as it is said to minimize losses and have lower space requirements and construction costs. So this makes it suitable for connecting AC grids with different frequencies but also for displacing AC transmission.
In recent years there has been a focus on using HVDC to connect renewable energy sources, which as seen an increase in the use of voltage source converter (VSC) HVDC systems which facilitate grid stabilization. The VSC HVDC uses an AC/DC converter based on IGBT power semiconductor devices that have fewer restrictions than earlier thyristor-based systems.
The VSC HVDC technology is suited to underground and underwater power links and is finding deployment in land-based and offshore wind farms, the mainland power supply to islands and offshore oil and gas platforms, city center in-feeds where space is a major constraint, and cross-border interconnections that often require subsea links.
ABB putt the world's first commercial HVDC link into operation in Sweden in 1954, and the company said it was the first to introduce VSC technology in the 1990s. ABB's HVDC Light solution has delivered 14 of the 15 VSC links that have been commissioned worldwide, ABB said.
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