The Russian Federation, the largest republic of the former Soviet Union, has been an independent state since 1991. The All-Union Power Pool System of the European part of the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics remained in Russia as part of the United Power System (UPS) of the Commonwealth of Independent States. With Russia’s power sources located mostly in the east and load centers in the west, the main transmission lines have been built from east to west.

All of Russia’s other high-voltage direct-current (HVDC) systems and back-to-back (BTB) HVDC links have been planned, commissioned and operated by the country’s Ministry for Electrical Power and Electrification. With the exception of the first HVDC project between Kashira and Moscow, which was the only one constructed using foreign equipment, the HVDC projects have been constructed using major plant, automation and protection equipment developed, manufactured and delivered by the factories of the Ministry for Electrotechnical Industry.

The former Soviet Union started HVDC system research and development (R&D) at several scientific research institutes in the 1930s, but the first project was not commissioned until 1950. Three organizations from the former Soviet Union played the main part in the implementation of all of the HVDC systems:

  • Energosetproject, the leading project organization
  • All-Russian Electrotechnical Institute (VEI), developer of the HVDC equipment
  • Direct Current Power Institute (NIIPT), developer of the specifications.

More than 60 other R&D institutes, project and construction organizations, and industrial enterprises took part in the creation of HVDC systems. The following is a summary of major Russian HVDC systems.

1965: Mercury-arc converter valve group at the Volzhskaya converter station.

Kashira–Moscow HVDC Link

Commissioned in 1950, the Kashira–Moscow project was the first HVDC system in the world. It is a two-pole system that is comprised of a 120-km (75-mile) ±100-kV underground cable circuit, with a load-transfer capacity of 30 MW. The system was built using equipment designed and manufactured by German companies Siemens and AEG for the Elbe–Berlin project, which was never put into service by Germany. By 1953, the underground cable was replaced with cable manufactured at the Soviet plant Moscabel.

This HVDC system — using coke-filled ground electrodes, lightning arresters, mercury-arc valves, and control and protection systems — was the result of a five-year R&D program on all equipment undertaken by VEI and NIIPT.

1974: High-voltage thyristor VTSV-700/120 converter valve group at the Volzhskaya converter station.