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Home / Technical Articles / 3 awesome HVDC projects in Australia you should know about

HVDC systems

Modern HVDC systems combines the good experience of the old installations with recently developed technologies and materials. The result is a very competitive, flexible and efficient way of transmitting electrical energy with a very low environmental impact.

3 awesome HVDC projects in Australia you should know about
3 awesome HVDC projects in Australia you should know about (on photo: A rated electrical power of 500 megawatts at a direct current voltage of 400 kilovolts and a rated current of 1250 amperes can now be transported via the long-distance high-voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission route “Basslink” from Tasmania over a distance of about 360 kilometers (220 miles) to Australia, and in the reverse direction; credit: SIEMENS)

It is important to remark that an HVDC system not only transmit electrical power from one point to another, but it also has a lot of value added which should have been necessary to solve by another means in the case of using a conventional AC transmission.

Ok, here are the three really awesome high-voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission projects finished in last ten years in Australia:

1. Basslink

Basslink, Australia
Basslink, Australia

Crossing Bass Strait required a submarine cable measuring 290km in length, which now is the longest of its kind in the world. The charging current of such a cable makes a High Voltage Alternating Current (HVAC) solution impossible, and therefore High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) transmission was the only feasible solution.

The Basslink HVDC Interconnector consists of a monopolar metallic return scheme, with a rated DC voltage of 400 kV, a rated DC current of 1250 A and a rated continuous power of 500 MW defined at the DC terminal of the rectifier converter station. Both HVDC converter stations, located at Loy Yang (Victoria) and George Town (Tasmania), are designed to transmit rated power in either direction.

Additionally, the HVDC system has a dynamic power transfer capacity of up to 630 MW from Tasmania to Victoria to meet Victorian peak demands.

Taking into consideration the relatively weak AC system of Tasmania, an important feature of the Basslink HVDC system is to provide the capability that enhances the stability of the AC system in case of disturbances or contingencies.

Under fault conditions the HVDC frequency controller can rapidly control DC power to prevent frequency deviation beyond a certain limit.

Project Details

Project typeHVDC interconnector
LocationBass Strait, between Victoria and Tasmania
Converter stations at Loy Yang (Victoria) and Georgetown (Tasmania)
Capacity– 400 kV DC transmission
– 12 pulse bridge line commutated HVDC
– 60 thyristors per valve, 720 total per station
– 500 MW continuous rating. Dynamic facility for limited time of up to 6 hours for 630 MW
Year of commissioning2006
PurposeTo connect the 500 kV transmission system in Victoria and the 220 kV transmission system in Tasmania, at 290 km in length, Basslink is the world’s second longest submarine power cable

Video // Basslink, The National Grid

2. Directlink HVDC Light Project

Directlink HVDC Light Project
Directlink HVDC Light Project

Terranora interconnector is a 180 MW underground HVDC Light transmission link connecting the New South Wales and Queensland electrical grids in Australia, allowing power to be traded between the two states.

The 65-km long link was built by TransÉnergie Australia, a subsidiary of the Canadian utility Hydro Québec and Country Energy. TransÉnergie US supplied its technical expertise for the construction and operation of the interconnection, as well as its expertise in marketing transmission services.

Project typeHVDC interconnector
LocationBetween New South Wales and Queensland, with converter stations at Bungalora (New South Wales) and Mullumbimby (Queensland)
CapacityMain data
Rated power: 3×60 MW
DC voltage: ± 80 kV
DC current: 342 A per converter
AC system voltage
Bungalora 110 kV
Mullumbimby 132 kV
AC filters (per converter):
39th harmonic 1 branch
78th harmonic 1 branch
IGBT valves
Valve type: two level
Cooling system: water
IGBT type: 2.5 kV/500 A
Year of commissioning2000
PurposeAn HVDC Light™ project to connect the New South Wales and Queensland electricity grids and to boost supply services to the Tweed Heads region of New South Wales

3. Murraylink HVDC Light Interconnection

Murraylink - The world's longest underground power transmission system.
Murraylink – The world’s longest underground power transmission system.

The Murraylink 220 MW ±150 kV HVDC Light bipolar interconnector is believed to be the world’s longest underground power transmission system, connecting the Riverland region in South Australia and Sunraysia region in Victoria through converter stations at Red Cliffs in Victoria and Berri in South Australia.

The controllable interconnection allows power to be traded in either direction between the two States, and provides enough electricity to meet the needs of around 200,000 households. ABB’s HVDC Light transmission system comprises extruded (oil free) cables buried in the ground and an HVDC Light converter station at each end of the link.

Key reasons for the choice of voltage source converter (VSC)-based HVDC technology include:

  1. Buried cables, enabling use of existing rights-of-way and speeding up the permit/approval process;
  2. Reactive power control to support weak AC networks;
  3. Compact converter station layout, and
  4. Modular, factory-tested design for a short field testing and commissioning period.

The Murraylink project earned several Australian state and national awards for both environmental and engineering excellence.

Project typeHVDC interconnector
LocationBetween South Australia and Victoria, with converter stations at Berri (South Australia) and Red Cliffs (Victoria)
CapacityMain data
Rated power: 220 MW
DC voltage: ± 150 kV
DC current: 739 A
AC system voltage
Red Cliffs 220 kV
Berri 132 kV
Reactive support at rated power
Inverter operation: -100 +100 MVAr
Rectifier operation: -75 +125 MVAr
IGBT valves
Valve type: VSC 3 level
IGBT type: 2.5 kV/1000 A
Cooling system: water
HVDC Light cables
Cross section: 1200 and 1400 mm2, Aluminium
Outer diameter: 80.2 and 83.7 mm
Length: 2×176 km
Year of commissioning2002
Purpose An HVDC Light™ project, with converter stations at Red Cliffs in Victoria and Berri in South Australia,  to connect the Riverland region of South Australia and the Sunraysia region of Victoria. At 176 km in length, Murraylink is the world’s longest underground high-voltage interconnection

HVDC Light – invisible on the map

  • CIGRE – Enhancing the Transmission Networks
  • Case Study: The Basslink HVDC Interconnector – SIEMENS
  • High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC)Transmission Systems Technology Review Paper – Roberto Rudervall
  • ABB Energiekabel GmbH

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More Information

Edvard Csanyi

Electrical engineer, programmer and founder of EEP. Highly specialized for design of LV/MV switchgears and LV high power busbar trunking (<6300A) in power substations, commercial buildings and industry facilities. Professional in AutoCAD programming.


    May 04, 2014


  2. Dei Shaheen
    Apr 26, 2014

    Work In This Project

    Apr 24, 2014

    Good work. I respect the effort of yours.

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