ABB revitalizes grid in northern Scandinavia

2011-01-14 - ABB FACTS (Flexible AC Transmission Systems) technology is helping to strengthen power transmission capacity and security in northern Finland and Sweden.

By ABB Communications

The Finnish transmission operator, Fingrid Oy, ordered two turnkey ABB series capacitor installations to increase the capacity and security of its 400 kilovolt (kV) power transmission system. The stations took 14 months to install, and have been running since October 2009.

Series capacitors are part of ABB's family of FACTS technologies that improve the security, capacity and flexibility of power transmission systems.

They are an important part of a larger grid investment package in northern Finland, which is designed to increase Fingrid's transmission capacity to neighbouring Sweden by some 200 megawatts (MW).

Rather than build new transmission lines, Fingrid opted to increase the capacity of its existing power network with a solution that could stabilize the network and at the same time meet the increasing market demand for power transmission between northern Finland and Sweden, and in Finland itself.

Solutions like this one are helping to smooth the path of integration for European power markets, and also make it possible to connect new kinds of power generation to the grid, such as wind power. In addition, just as aging power grids can be renewed by rebuilding older substations and lines, the installation of series capacitors is a cost-effective way to increase the capacity of existing networks, while keeping them stable and robust.

ABB's series compensation installation (right) in northern Finland is helping to advance European power market integration , and add new generation like wind power to the energy mix. View (left) of ABB's CapThor device.

The series capacitors installed in Finland feature an ABB innovation known as CapThor™ that comprises a very fast high-power plasma switch working in parallel with a fast mechanical switch. This combination provides compact, fast-acting protection against disturbances in the grid, such as lightning strikes which could damage the series capacitor. The device is unaffected by the environment, and may be used for a wide range of voltages.

ABB is a pioneer in series compensation, a technology that increases power capacity in existing long-distance power transmission systems. With a small footprint and minimal environmental impact, series compensation can boost capacity in existing lines by as much as 50 percent, or more. This makes it a real alternative to building new lines, which can take years to complete and also significantly impacts the environment.

ABB is a also world leader in series compensation, with nearly 300 installations all over the world at a range of voltage levels, ranging from 10 kV to 765 kV and ratings from a few Mvar (megavolt-amperes reactive) up to more than 1000 Mvar for one series capacitor.

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    Series capacitors at Tuomela & Asmunti in northern Finland were installed within 14 months, and have significantly increased capacity in Fingrid’s existing transmission lines.

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