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Tickers in this Article: ABB, EMR, PWR
ABB Ltd. (ABB) announced that it has received an order to upgrade the existing Celilo HVDC (high-voltage direct current) converter station in Oregon. The contract, worth $260 million worth, was booked in the fourth quarter of 2012 and was allotted by the U.S. utility Bonneville Power Administration (BPA), a power marketing agency within the U.S. Department of Energy. ABB's rivals in the Electric Power Infrastructure business such as Emerson Electric Company (EMR) and Quanta Service Inc. (PWR) also have received similar contracts for maintenance, upgrading and modernizing of the power converter stations.

The Celilo HVDC (high-voltage direct current) converter station is an important component of the electricity link between the Pacific Northwest and southern California. This converter station, located at the north end of the Pacific DC Intertie, helps in transmitting electricity from the Pacific Northwest to almost three million households in the greater Los Angeles area.

During winter, the northwest part of the U.S. consumes significant quantities of power for heating while the south requires less but in summer, the demand is reversed with more power needed in the south for cooling. Therefore, the Pacific Intertie allows power to flow between the Northwest and Southern California smoothly by helping to balance supply with demand.

The Pacific Intertie, covering 846 miles, connects to the Sylmar converter station in the south. It is also called the Path 65 and has a capacity of 3,100 megawatts (MW).

The upgrade of the converter station will primarily include valves, controls, transformers, switchgear and cooling equipment. Further, apart from modernizing, the upgrade will also boost the capacity of the converter station to about 3,800 megawatts.

The modernization of the converter station is a vital part of the maintenance, as it ensures reliability on this important HVDC (high-voltage direct current) link by reducing risk of blackouts and helping to secure power supply in the regions it provides electricity.  

ABB, a global leader in power and automation technology and has initiated HVDC technology approximately six decades ago. Even today, ABB maintains itself as the leader in this highly-efficient technology and has completed near about 70 HVDC projects worldwide, with a total transmission capacity of more than 60,000 MW.

ABB currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

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