ABB’s GCBs to protect large hydropower plants in China

ABB will deliver HEC7/8 Generator Circuit Breakers (GCBs), 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.

Bernd Muehe, Head of ABB Power Products Division, North Asia Region and China, said, “Hydropower is integral to China’s clean energy and low carbon development. With our rich engineering experience and advanced technology, ABB has participated in a number of large-scale hydropower projects around the world. ABB’s involvement in these important domestic HPP projects is yet another demonstration of our effort to actively promote the efficient use of clean energy in China. It also highlights our leadership and strength in GCBs.”

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% of the GCBs on the market. 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 1500 MW to withstand any fault currents. The product also features a 15-year (or 10,000 switches) maintenance–free life cycle, significantly lowering costs.

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 2015, the 12600 MW Xiluodu HPP will generate 64 billion kWh of electricity per year, while the 6400 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 8700 MW, will generate 42 billion kWh of electricity when construction is completed in 2014. The 2400 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.

Hydropower development is an important aspect of China’s strategy to promote renewable energy and reduce carbon emissions. According to the China Water Resources and Hydropower Planning and Design Institute, in order to achieve the government’s goal of generating 15% of China’s primary energy from non-fossil sources by 2020, the installed capacity of hydropower needs to be increased from 190,000 MW to 380,000 MW, accounting for 9%-10% in total primary energy consumption.

Source: ABB