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Case Study

Rio Madeira

One of the longest and most powerful transmission links in the world at 2,375 kilometers


The Rio Madeira HVDC system is a 6,300 MW, ± 600 kV HVDC transmission system in Brazil built to export electricity from hydropower plants on the Madeira River in the Amazon Basin to major load centers in southeastern Brazil – a distance of 2,375 km, making it the longest transmission link in the world when commissioned in 2013-2014. An 800 MW back-to-back converter station is also part of the system.

A consortium consisting of two companies in the Abengoa Group, Inabensa S.A (Spain) and Abengoa Construção Brasil Ltda (Brazil) awarded Hitachi Energy contracts to supply the power equipment for three HVDC stations. The delivery was part of the Brazilian government's Program to Accelerate Development (PAC).

Brazil's power system is about 95% hydroelectric. Main load centers are in coastal regions, especially in the southeastern state of São Paulo.

Hitachi Energy provided two 3,150 MW HVDC converter stations and one 800-MW HVDC back-to-back station. The two 3,150 MW converter stations are placed at either end of the transmission line, delivering electricity from two hydropower plants near Porto Velho in northwest Brazil to the southeast near São Paulo.

The third unit is an 800 MW back-to-back HVDC station that transmits power to the surrounding AC network in northwest Brazil. This installation includes capacitor commutated converter (CCC)-type back-to-back converters instead of conventional converters for local electrical loads, providing continuous and even control of voltage and power in the weaker power networks of northwest Brazil.

The Rio Madeira transmission link was the second 600 kV HVDC transmission system in Brazil. The Itaipu HVDC project built by Hitachi Energy in the mid-'80s is the first.

Main data
Commissioning year: 2013
Configuration/s: Back-to-Back
Overhead Transmission Lines
Power transmitted: 3,150 MW
2 x 400 MW (back-to-back)
Application/s: Connecting Remote Generation
Interconnecting Grids
Back-to-Back
Overhead Transmission Lines