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Alstom Grid to renew control system for HVDC link at McNeill Converter Station


February 6, 2012
By Alyssa Dalton

February 6, 2012 – Alstom Grid has been selected by ATCO Electric, for the replacement and upgrade of control equipment at the McNeill Converter Station near Medicine Hat, Alta. The Converter Station houses a 150 MW back-to-back high voltage direct current (HVDC) link that facilitates the exchange of energy between several important North American electricity networks.

Originally installed in 1989 with Alstom Grid power electronics and control systems, the McNeill HVDC Link has performed continuously and unmanned ever since. This new contract will replace the now obsolete control equipment with the latest Alstom Grid Series V digital Control System which will improve the performance and will extend the life of the converter station, said the company.

“The Series V control system is an integral element in all Alstom Grid HVDC offers, already successfully implemented in various HVDC converter stations supplied by Alstom worldwide,” it added.

“It’s a sign of our dedication to quality and expertise in HVDC systems that Alstom Grid has been asked to return by ATCO to the McNeill Converter Station,” said Jean Nakache, VP – Power Electronics Applications for Alstom Grid. “We are happy to be able to upgrade a system that has been working efficiently for over 20 years, and see it into the next 20 years of reliable service.”

“We are proud of our HVDC technology, but even more so when it is deployed in a resource rich, yet diverse and challenging territory as in Alberta,” continued Keith Stentiford, Alstom Grid’s regional VP for North America.

Owned and operated by ATCO, the McNeill converter station is dispatched by the Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) as part of the overall Alberta Interconnected Electric System. It is the northern-most link between the Western Electricity Coordinating Council (WECC) system and the Midwest Reliability Organization. It provides power to remote eastern regions, as well as an energy-trading route with neighbouring Saskatchewan.

Completion is scheduled for mid-2013.