ABB has won orders worth $440 million from the State Grid Corp. of China and other partners to provide new ultrahigh-voltage technology for the world’s longest power transmission link.

The power superhighway running 2,000 km (1,240 miles) from western China to the highly industrialized coastal area in the east, will have a capacity of 6,400 MW. That is enough to meet the needs of about 31 million people in China, based on average consumption per capita. The link from the Xiangjiaba hydropower plant to Shanghai is scheduled for completion in 2011.

The ultrahigh-voltage direct current (UHVDC) link comprises two substations and a power transmission system using breakthrough technology to transmit electricity at ultrahigh voltage (800 kV), which will minimize the amount of power lost in transmission.

Increasing the voltage level of electrical transmission creates considerable advantages for the environment, including lower electricity losses and the use of less land compared to traditional overhead lines. UHVDC is particularly suitable for vast countries like China, where the centers that need power are often located far from power sources.