American Electric Power has awarded an order worth around $60 million to replace a 30-year-old HVDC back-to-back converter station in Texas. The order was booked in the second quarter.

The project scope, to be performed by ABB, includes engineering, supply, installation and commissioning of an HVDC back-to-back transmission system capable of delivering 220 MW of power in either direction. The new system will have black-start capability, which enables fast grid restoration in the event of a power outage, allowing power to be used from the other end of the link. This is an important feature as the converter station is an integral part of the Oklaunion HVDC transmission link - an asynchronous interconnection between the Texas (ERCOT) and Oklahoma (SPP) power grids.

Other key components to be supplied as part of the turnkey solution include converter valves and ABB’s MACH2 advanced control and protection system, which will help meet stringent system performance requirements.

The existing converter station will remain in operation during the construction of the new station to minimize the impact of replacing the system. The new station is expected to be operational in 2014.