Bechtel, Alstom picked for offshore wind power grid

FEBRUARY 10, 2013—Google-backed Atlantic Wind Connection (AWC), Princeton, NJ, has picked Bechtel as its Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) Contractor and Alstom as its HVDC technical advisor for the first phase of its New Jersey Energy Link, an electricity transmission system proposed for off of the New Jersey coast.

With several wind farms proposed off of New Jersey and the East Coast, the idea behind the New Jersey Energy Link is to connect both traditional and alternative energy resources onshore and off with users throughout the state. The subsea cable will run the length of New Jersey 12 to 15 miles offshore and when complete will have the capacity to transmit 3,000 MW of electricity.

The power grid is seen as an essential element in developing offshore wind off of New Jersey, as well as bolstering an aging East Coast energy infrastructure to deliver electricity to residents, industry and government.

The New Jersey Energy Link will be built in three phases, with construction expected to begin in 2016. The first phase will be in service in 2019.

In future phases, the power grid could eventually stretch down to Delaware and Virginia.

As EPC contractor for the New Jersey Energy Link, Bechtel will engineer, design, and install onshore transmission lines and substations: two onshore convertor stations and one offshore converter station that will make up the New Jersey Energy Link backbone. Bechtel will also oversee the installation of advanced HVDC converter technology and high voltage DC cables to bring power from the offshore wind turbines to the onshore converter stations.

“We are building a landmark high-capacity transmission superhighway that will deliver offshore wind energy to New Jersey using the most advanced technology available today,” says Toby Seay, President of Bechtel’s transmission business line.NJEnergy

As the HVDC technical advisor, Alstom will provide technical advice concerning the manufacture and delivery of the 320 kV HVDC multi-terminal system components.  With their HVDC MaxSine Voltage Source Converters (VSC), they are one of only a few firms in the world versed in technology related to multi-terminal HVDC systems including the project’s plans to provide connections with a series of 1 GW offshore converter “hubs” to onshore converters. This multi-terminal HVDC offshore network will transform the 138 kV or 230 kV alternating current output from offshore wind farm electric service platforms into DC for transmission at 320 kV DC to onshore converters that will be connected to the PJM grid.

Patrick Plas, Senior Vice President, Alstom Grid, says “Based on our proven capability to design, manufacture and supply large HVDC and HVAC projects and equipment worldwide we are confident we can provide the HVDC expertise required by the project."

The Atlantic Wind Connection backbone transmission project is led by independent transmission company Trans-Elect with Atlantic Grid Development as the project developer and Google, Bregal Energy, Marubeni Corporation and Elia as backers.