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90 million lives in India will be powered thanks to this project

The superhighway is the world’s first multi-terminal Ultra-high voltage direct current (UHVDC) transmission system, capable of sending power across vast distances with minimal losses.

Article by Rashmi Ramesh

2ABB has energized the first phase of a new electric link—the North-East Agra 800 kilovolts (kV) Ultra-high voltage direct current (UHVDC)— which will supply clean hydropower from the Himalayas in north-east India to an Agra substation over 1,700 kilometres away, from where it will be distributed across north India, providing electricity to 90 million people.


The ‘superhighway’ is the world’s first multi-terminal UHVDC transmission system, capable of allowing power to be sent across vast distances with minimal losses and reduced need for pylons.

According to ABB’s website, the turnkey project is a joint effort by ABB and government-owned Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL), which will include aspects of design, system engineering, supply, installation and commissioning for Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd (POWERGRID), which is India’s central transmission utility.

“This is a major milestone in the execution of the landmark north-east Agra project, the first multi-terminal UHVDC transmission link in the world, and underlines ABB’s global leadership in HVDC technology”, Claudio Facchin, president of ABB’s Power Systems division, was quoted as saying. “We continue to support India in the development of its power infrastructure and integrating more renewables to bring clean power to millions of people. This is a focus area of our Next Level strategy.”

The report added that the 6,000 MW UHVDC link will have a world record converter capacity with provision for contingencies.


“The world’s first multi-terminal UHVDC link will have three converter stations – two ‘sending’ stations will convert power from alternating current (AC) to direct current (DC) for transmission over a single power line that will pass through the narrow corridor and deliver it to a ‘receiving’ station in Agra where it will be converted back into AC for distribution to end users. There is also a provision for reversal of power flow from Agra to north-east. The multi-terminal solution considerably reduces costs compared to the alternative of running separate power links from multiple hydropower plants to Agra,” the report said.

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