Siemens Power Transmission and Distribution (PTD; Erlangen, Germany) has received an order from Basslink Pty Ltd. to supply (on a turnkey basis) the two converter stations for the planned high-voltage direct current (HVDC) submarine cable link across the Bass Strait between Tasmania and the state of Victoria on the Australian mainland. Basslink Pty Ltd. was formed by National Grid Transco to run the Basslink project. Siemens and Pirelli have entered into a consortium to execute the project. Pirelli will supply and install the land cable sections and the submarine cable, which is more than 280 km (175 miles) long. The complete order is worth more than Euro 300 million. The HVDC link is scheduled to commence operation in 2005.

The advantages of this link lie on both sides of the water. Gaining access to the Australian electricity market, Tasmania can supply Victoria at peak load times with power from hydro generating plants. Tasmania can top up its base load from the mainland grid and also secure the base load in drought periods when reduced hydro power is available. In addition, Tasmania plans to set up wind farms to improve the production of electrical power from regenerative sources further.

As consortium leader, Siemens is supplying and installing all the HVDC technology for the Basslink project, including the converter valves, converter transformers, smoothing reactors, high-voltage switchgear and the relevant communication, control and protection equipment. Siemens is also responsible for constructing the valve halls and the operations building, as well as for the overhead lines and transfer points on both sides.

HVDC technology makes it possible to transmit electrical energy with low losses and hence economically over long distances. This HVDC link connects Georgetown in Tasmania and Loy Yang in Victoria, and will transmit 500 MW of power at a dc voltage of 400 kV and a rated current of 1250 amperes over a distance of 360 km (224 miles).
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