Swiss power and automation technology group ABB has delivered the East West Interconnector to EirGrid, the Irish transmission system operator. The 500- megawatt (MW) transmission connection is the highest capacity link of its kind, based on voltage source converter technology, to go into commercial operation. The interconnector, which was delivered last month, establishes an important link between the Irish and UK grids, enabling cross-border power flows and enhancing grid reliability and security of electricity supplies. The new link also facilitates power trading between the two countries and connects Ireland to the European grid. As Ireland expands its wind power capacity, it can export surplus electricity to the UK and can import power when required. A 262 km cable system connects Woodland in Co Meath and Deeside in north Wales. The cables are equipped with extruded polymeric insulation that provides strength and flexibility to endure the severe conditions of the Irish Sea. HVDC Light’s ‘black start’ capability can help restore power quickly in the event of an outage, without the aid of external energy sources. HVDC Light is an evolution of HVDC technology that helps address the needs of long distance underground and subsea transmission. “This is yet another example of the growing role of HVDC transmission technology when enabling key emerging trends like integration of renewables and interconnections,” said Brice Koch, head of ABB’s Power Systems business. ABB pioneered HVDC technology nearly 60 years ago and has been awarded around 90 HVDC projects representing a total installed capacity of more than 95,000 MW – accounting for about half the global installed base. It is increasingly being deployed across a range of applications including integration of renewable energies from land-based and offshore wind farms, mainland power supply to islands and offshore oil and gas platforms, city centre in-feeds where space is a major constraint, and interconnections, often across the seas.