ABB's 525kV HVDC cable system

ABB has developed and tested a 525 kilovolt (kV) extruded high-voltage direct current (HVDC) cable system, which it says will make renewable energy installations more efficient and cost-effective.

The new cable offers a 64 per cent increase over 320 kV, currently the highest voltage deployed for this type of technology. ABB claims this will more than double the power capacity from 1 000 MW to about 2 600 MW, and also expand the cable’s reach from less than 1 000 km to 1 500 kilometers, while keeping transmission losses under 5 per cent.

The system utilises cables with a new DC cross-linked polyethylene (XLPE) insulation material developed with Borealis, as well as termination and joints manufactured by ABB.

It can be deployed in subsea and underground applications, making it ideal for efficient power delivery through densely populated or environmentally sensitive areas or coastal and open-sea applications, ABB says.

The new system also supports the development of DC grids where ABB removed a key technology hurdle with the development of the hybrid HVDC breaker.

"This major technology breakthrough will change the feasibility of renewable energy projects and play a defining role in using underground and subsea high voltage cables to integrate renewables over long distances," said Ulrich Spiesshofer, CEO of ABB.