Breakthrough in cable technology launched in Switzerland


Power and automation technology group, ABB, has developed and tested a 525kV extruded high-voltage direct current (HVDC) cable system to make renewable energy installations more efficient and cost-effective.

The system more than doubles the amount of power (about 1GW) currently able to flow through a cable across distances of 1500km, up from less than 1000km, while keeping transmission losses under 5 per cent.

The new cable offers a 64 per cent capacity increase over 320kV, presently the highest voltage deployed for this type of technology.

By enabling more power across greater distances with reduced losses, the 525kV cable technology will be able to assist countries and utilities that want to enable their electricity transmission systems to integrate more renewable energy – including that generated by distant solar and wind installations. A single pair of 525kV extruded HVDC cables could, for example, transmit enough power from large-scale offshore wind farms to around two million households.

ABB chief executive officer Ulrich Spiesshofer said the cable system would change the feasibility of renewables projects and play a defining role in using underground and subsea high-voltage cables to integrate renewables across long distances.

Because it can be deployed in subsea and underground applications, Mr Spiesshofer also said the technology is ideal for applications where power must be efficiently delivered through densely populated or environmentally sensitive areas or coastal and open-sea applications.

The cable system, with a power rating of up to 2600MW, consists of cables, utilising a new DC cross-linked polyethylene insulation material developed with Borealis.

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