ABB commissions switchgear rated at more than 1 million V

Switchgear a key component of safe and reliable ultrahigh-voltage ac transmission.


ABB has commissioned a switchgear rated to handle more than 1 million V (1,100 kV), touching new heights in terms of global voltage levels. The ultrahigh-voltage gas-insulated switchgear (GIS) has a switching capability of 6,900 MW, which means it can turn power equivalent to the average electrical consumption of Switzerland--a country with more than 7 million inhabitants--on or off within milliseconds.

ABB successfully designed, tested, and commissioned the GIS for a pilot project launched in 2006 by State Grid Corporation of China to demonstrate the feasibility of ac power transmission at ultrahigh voltage.

The GIS is a central component of ultrahigh-voltage electricity transmission designed to carry huge amounts of electricity over vast distances with very low losses. ABB completed the assignment in just two years with technology partner Xian Shiky, a leading Chinese switchgear manufacturer who worked in close co-operation with ABB throughout the project.

State Grid has announced plans to invest more than $14 billion in the next three to four years to expand its ultrahigh-voltage network. Ultrahigh-voltage transmission reduces power losses and requires a smaller transmission corridor than conventional technologies. It is particularly suitable for countries like China, where energy resources are often far from the centers of power consumption.

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