Hitachi to deliver ‘Australian first’ converter tech for Marinus Link


In what is being described as an Australian first, technology provider Hitachi Energy Hitachi Energy will build voltage source converter stations at either end of the Marinus Link interconnector that will include approximately 345 kilometres of undersea and underground HVDC (high voltage direct current) cable between Tasmania and Victoria.

The converter stations, including converters, transformers, switch gear, harmonic filters, and control and protection systems, will be installed at Heybridge in Tasmania’s northwest and at Hazelwood in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley. The technology will convert AC electricity to DC power that will be transferred along the HVDC cable, and DC to AC, where the electricity is returned to the grid.

Hitachi said it is the first time in Australia that its HVDC Light voltage source converter stations will be deployed at both ends of a transmission link, a move it expects will help stabilise the grid and support the integration of more renewables.

Hitachi Energy HVDC LIght converts alternating to direct current and back again, with minimal electrical losses.

Image: Marinus Link

Niklas Persson, managing director of Hitachi’s grid integration business, said the converter technology, which combines modular multilevel converters, digital control platform, converter power transformers and high-voltage switchgear, will help “transmit large amounts of electricity with higher stability and lower electrical losses.”

“The connection will enable the Tasmanian state to import excess supply of solar and wind produced in Victoria, while reserving its hydro and storing the extra energy,” the company said. “Clean hydropower can then feed the mainland grid when it is needed most, acting as a large battery for the nation.”

Switzerland-headquartered Hitachi’s agreement with Marinus Link covers the first 750 MW stage of the proposed 1.5 GW project.

The project originally comprised two 750 MW high-voltage cables linking Tasmania and Victoria with initial estimates pricing the project at between $3.1 billion (USD 2.03 billion) and $3.8 billion. Recent estimates suggest that price will cover the delivery of just one 750 MW cable, associated terrestrial links and substation works.

That has prompted a rethink with the project to prioritise the delivery of just one 750 MW cable in the initial stage, with negotiations to continue on a second cable.

Marinus Link Chief Executive Officer Caroline Wykamp said the agreement with Hitachi is another important step to ensure delivery of the project by the end of the decade.

The project is being delivered by the federal government in collaboration with the Victorian and Tasmanian state governments.

“We have taken another firm step towards project execution,” she said.

The federal government has previously said it expects the first stage of the Marinus Link project to be operational by 2030 with construction anticipated to commence in early 2025.

Marinus Link is working towards a final investment decision on the project by the end of 2024.

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