Hitachi Energy, a global technology leader that is advancing a sustainable energy future for all, today announced it has signed a long-term service agreement with Société Nationale d’Electricité (SNEL), the national electricity company of the Democratic Republic of Congo, to secure power supply in the country’s most important power transmission asset: the Inga-Kolwezi high-voltage direct current (HVDC) link.
The link supplies up to 1,000 megawatts of emission-free electricity from the Inga Falls hydropower plant in the far west of the country to the Kolwezi mining region in the south. With a length of 1,700 kilometers, it is the longest HVDC link in Africa. It also enables the Democratic Republic of Congo to export surplus power to the member countries of the Southern African Power Pool.
The agreement continues the close collaboration between SNEL and Hitachi Energy over the past 40 years to ensure the link operates at maximum availability and reliability over its long operating life. Hitachi Energy supplied the two converter stations at either end of the link in 1982 and has subsequently upgraded them and doubled transmission capacity.
As part of the agreement, Hitachi Energy will assess the precise service needs of the converter stations and develop a preventive maintenance program and supervise its implementation over the next five years. The agreement includes training, knowledge sharing and expertise enhancement of SNEL service personnel.
“We are delighted to be continuing our long collaboration with SNEL to protect the nation’s investment in its most important power transmission link,” said Andreas Berthou, HVDC and HVDC Service Global Product Group Manager of Hitachi Energy. “This long-term service agreement demonstrates how we work closely with the customer to secure availability and reliability over the entire lifetime of the asset.”
“Hitachi Energy has been a close and valued partner of SNEL for almost 50 years, when we first collaborated on the design of what was then a groundbreaking HVDC link with the world’s longest transmission line,” said Jean-Bosco Kayombo Kayan, CEO of SNEL. “Since then, we have worked closely together to increase the capacity and maximize the reliability of this critical national infrastructure.”
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Hitachi Energy’s HVDC solution
Hitachi Energy’s HVDC solution combines world-leading expertise in HVDC converter valves; the MACH™ digital control platform*2, converter power transformers and high-voltage switchgear; as well as system studies, design and engineering, supply, installation supervision and commissioning.
HVDC Light® is a voltage source converter technology developed by Hitachi Energy. It is the preferred technology for many grid applications, including interconnecting countries, integrating renewables and “power-from-shore” connections to offshore production facilities. HVDC Light’s defining features include uniquely compact converter stations and exceptionally low electrical losses.
Hitachi Energy pioneered commercial HVDC technology almost 70 years ago and has delivered more than half of the world’s HVDC projects.