ABB generator circuit breakers to protect hydropower plants in China

Technology and automation group ABB will supply generator circuit breakers (GCBs) to major hydropower plants coming up in China as part of power sources to China's "West to East power transmission" program, ABB reported.

ABB will deliver HEC7/8 generator circuit breakers, featuring the world's largest breaking capacity, to the Xiluodu HPP, Xiangjiaba HPP, Jinping-I & II HPPs and Guandi HPP projects, ensuring their safe and efficient operation, a press release states.

GCBs are essential equipment for safe and reliable power plant operation. The large generators have large short-circuits and breaking current. The fault currents will seriously endanger the safe operation of the power station. In the case of fault currents, the GCBs immediately cut off the circuit, isolating any damage, protecting the generator, transformers and other core devices, therefore, significantly improving the operational safety of the power station.

ABB is the world's largest provider of GCBs, designing and manufacturing about 70 percent of the GCBs on the market, ABB reported.

The HEC7/8 GCBs being provided to these projects have the world's largest breaking capacity. Using SF6 as insulating and arc-extinguishing media, the HEC7/8 GCBs are capable of cutting off a short circuit current of up to 210 kAs. It can be deployed in generating units with a rated power level of up to 1,500 MW to withstand any fault currents.

Xiluodu and Xiangjiaba HPPs, built and operated by the China Three Gorges Corporation, are located in the Jinshajiang River Basin, upstream of the Yangtze River, on the border between Yunnan and Sichuan provinces. When they begin operations in 2014, the 13,860-MW Xiluodu HPP will generate 64 billion kWh of electricity per year, while the 6,400-MW Xiangjiaba HPP will generate 30.7 billion kWh. Jinping-I & II and Guandi HPPs, located in Yalongjiang River Basin, are being developed by Ertan Hydropower Development Company.

The Jinping-I & II HPPs, with a total capacity of 8,700 MW, will generate 42 billion kWh of electricity when construction is completed in 2014. The 2,400-MW Guandi HPP, a complementary project for the Jiping-I & II HPPs, will generate 11.8 billion kWh of electricity per year starting in 2013.

Recently, ABB won an order worth $23 million from Eskom, South Africa's leading electric utility, to supply an electrical balance of plant (eBoP) solution for the Ingula pumped-storage hydropower plant, currently under construction on the border of the Free State and KwaZulu-Natal provinces in South Africa.

The Ingula hydro plant will have the capacity to generate 1,333 MW of hydropower.

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