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Taking Advantage of Sustainable Energy

Jasmin Staiblin
 Chief Executive Officer 

Jasmin Staiblin, Chief Executive Officer of ABB Switzerland, says, “Global energy consumption continues to grow and, if left unabated, will lead to an ever-greater risk of irreversibly changing our climate. To take advantage of more sustainable energy sources, the energy landscape is in a state of profound change to allow the integration of increasing amounts of renewable energy sources into the grid, to allow infrastructure to run more intelligently and efficiently, and to ensure the supply of energy is available at all times.

As one of the world’s leading technology companies, ABB is well-equipped to help its customers meet these challenges. In power engineering, ABB supplies critical components and solutions for all types of power plants, integrates all central and decentral energy sources, provides comprehensive grid monitoring and energy management systems, and provides intelligent building technology. 

ABB helps make customer systems more energy efficient by providing the latest automation technology to improve productivity and competitiveness. ABB is one of the few companies in the world with the products, systems, and skills to successfully weld expertise in both power and automation to secure sustainable, efficient energy use for its customers.” Research and development are critical factors for the success of any technology company. At ABB, around 7,500 employees worldwide anticipate trends in energy and automation technologies and develop innovative solutions. In seven corporate research centers, ABB researchers work on the most advanced new and improved technologies, which are then implemented by the development departments of the business units to create products and systems.


Energy efficiency at the center

At the Swiss Corporate Research Center in Baden-Dättwil, 200 staff members from about 30 countries conduct research in electrotechnology, power electronics, automation of industrial processes, and energy technologies. Energy efficiency plays a vital role in this process. Thanks to advances in power electronics technology, the losses in high-voltage direct current transmission technology, converters, motor drives, and transformers have been significantly reduced.

Power electronics and renewable energy

Another key focus area is renewable energy and its integration into the grid, which also relies on power electronics. Researchers are studying the interaction of various components, such as energy storage systems within intelligent grids while seeking to increase the electrical transmission capacity and make existing products and systems even more reliable and compact. However, new ideas are being promoted outside these established research and development structures. At ABB, innovation is part of its day-to-day business and corporate culture.

The use of renewable energy sources is growing continuously. Wind farms are appearing along the European coastline, while new solar plants are emerging in Spain and North Africa. At the same time, the Alpine countries are expanding their hydroelectric and pumped storage power plants to create additional capacity. ABB supports the expansion of renewable energies and offers efficient technologies and critical components for generating, transmitting, and distributing electrical energy from solar, wind, and hy, hydropower.

Renewable energy from wind

For the Global Tech I offshore wind farm in the German North Sea, ABB will deliver several 5-megawatt (MW) frequency converters. These converters regulate the power generated to a set frequency, regardless of wind strength, allowing it to be fed into the grid.

Full-scale renovation of hydroelectric power plants

KraftwerkeHinterrhein AG will complete a full-scale renovation of its four power plants by 2017, an investment of around CHF 275 million. ABB will provide all the auxiliary and emergency power systems and transformers and renovate two outdoor switchgear units.

Hydroelectric generator renovation

For the Stalden plant, operated by KraftwerkeMattmark AG, and the Riddes plant, operated by Forces Motrices de Mauvoisin SA, ABB will deliver new active generator parts and AC generators. Solar power in Thailand In Thailand, ABB is involved in several 1.25 to 4.5 MW photovoltaic projects. ABB will supply all low-voltage and remote switching systems for high-performance automatic DC generators.

Integrating renewable energy sources and power transfer across borders presents new challenges for the grid infrastructure. Any imbalances between generation and consumption can complicate grid management efforts. Further automation to operate the power grid more intelligently is critical. Through its technology leadership, ABB is heavily involved in developing smart grids and offers a wide range of grid management and automation systems for high-voltage direct current transmission and various grid components.

Grid Monitoring – with foresight

In addition to a conventional grid control system, Swiss grid coordinator Swissgrid uses the intelligent monitoring system PSGuard. Dangerous swings in the European high-voltage grid, for instance, can be identified immediately via signal readings accurately synchronized via satellite so that suitable countermeasures can be taken.

World’s most extensive offshore HVDC system

ABB will supply the most extensive world high-voltage direct current transmission (HVDC) system, with a rated capacity of 900 MW. The new system will connect several offshore wind farms to the German power grid. Powerful semiconductor modules from Lenzburg will convert power delivered to the shore inside converter stations for around 1.5 million homes.

Switzerland’s largest battery

Incorporating a battery into the smart grid could help ease peak loads and generation fluctuations. Together with EKZ, ABB is building Switzerland’s largest storage battery with a 1 MW capacity. It can store up to 500 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity and share it with the grid.

Making electrical energy available anytime, anywhere requires smooth generation, transmission, and distribution from the supplier to the consumer. ABB offers a wide range of products, turnkey systems, and services for a secure energy supply – from smart grid and power electronics to control systems, generator switches, transformers, and switchgear. New and existing systems are created and retrofitted to meet the growing need for state-of-the-art energy technology.

Energy hub renovated

In Lavorgo, ABB replaced a 40-year-old outdoor switchgear unit with modern gas-insulated switchgear. The switching station in the Swiss canton of Ticino is a significant hub for trans-Alpine high-voltage transmission lines and, thus, for both the Swiss and Italian grid supply.

Run-of-the-river upgrades

BKW FMB Energie AG is upgrading its hydroelectric plants. It has signed a master agreement with ABB to supply gas-insulated medium-voltage switchgear and protection and control equipment for three plants in the cantons of Bern and Jura.

No power failures for data centers

The Swiss Confederation’s data center is equipped with one of the most energy-efficient, uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) on the market. This innovative UPS from ABB can cover enormous power requirements without interruption during short outages, thus increasing 

" ABB is one of the few companies in the world with the products, systems and skills to successfully weld expertise in both power and automation to secure sustainable efficient energy use for its customers "

Jasmin Staiblin

Chief Executive Officer

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