ABB and Aibel to partner on offshore wind connections

ABB and Aibel today announced a strategic partnership to deliver state-of-the-art offshore wind integration solutions. ABB will focus on its proven high voltage direct current (HVDC) technology, while Aibel will take turnkey Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) responsibility for the design, construction, installation and commissioning of the offshore platforms. The partnership will combine the core competencies of the two companies to deliver best-in-class solutions. The partners will collaborate on the design, engineering and optimization of offshore wind connections.

“We are proud to partner with Aibel to tap the vast opportunities of the ongoing Energy Revolution and related offshore wind infrastructure investments. Together, we intend to grow our businesses by complementing each other’s strengths in unique customer services for offshore wind projects,” said ABB CEO Ulrich Spiesshofer. “Strategic partnerships like this are a core pillar of our Next Level strategy and help us to drive growth while mitigating risk.”

The integration of power generated by offshore wind farms into national electrical grids requires complex engineering. A key part is the conversion of power from alternating current (AC) to direct current (DC) for low-loss transmission, often over long distances, to connect remote offshore wind farms to the mainland grid. This DC power is subsequently converted back to AC once on land and then distributed for consumption. The HVDC system incorporates sophisticated technology to ensure the optimum integration of intermittent renewables and control of power flows. The offshore part of the HVDC system is housed on a specially designed platform.

“We are very pleased to sign this cooperation agreement with ABB. Both ABB and Aibel have a proven track record of providing leading-edge solutions in their respective areas of expertise. We have successfully worked together before and I am convinced that with our combined strengths we will be a leading force to reckon with,” said Jan Skogseth, President and CEO of Aibel.

HVDC remains the technology of choice for transmitting large amounts of power, over long distances, efficiently and reliably and is ideal for the integration of remote renewable energy sources like offshore wind. ABB pioneered the technology more than 60 years ago and further developed the technology in the 1990s by introducing a voltage sourced converter (VSC) solution named HVDC Light. ABB is a market leader in HVDC, with an installed capacity of more than 120,000 megawatts – around half the global installed base. This includes 18 of the 24 VSC HVDC projects commissioned worldwide.

“Offshore wind power transmission projects are inherently complex in nature, deploying cutting-edge technologies, and ABB has gained significant experience in this area. This partnership with Aibel will help us to leverage the specialized competencies of both companies and enhance our overall value proposition for customers,” said Claudio Facchin, President of Power Grids. “It reinforces our Next Level strategy to focus on our core technology strengths like HVDC and build new business models, as we pursue profitable growth opportunities.”