Welcome to this special issue of ffwd

This edition has a special focus on the renewables sector, which is timely as the government prepares the Energy Bill, putting in place Electricity Market Reform.
As onshore and offshore wind has matured, ABB has developed the technology that serves these industries. Highlights include the recently energised East West Interconnector for EirGrid (see page 26). Although the 500 MW EirGrid interconnector is currently the highest rated HVDC Light® transmission link, it will soon make way for two larger projects as ABB is also delivering the 800 MW and 900 MW grid connections for the DolWin1 and DolWin2 offshore wind farms – read about these on pages 8 and 10.

Another enabling technology for offshore wind is switchgear. ABB’s PASS M00 (on page 12) is compact enough to fit an entire substation in a turbine tower, meeting the growing market for 66 kV (kilovolt) collection grids in offshore wind.

And we’re now seeing wave and tidal power technologies making significant advances, with the world’s largest ocean energy farm, based on wave power. See page 24 for details.

But the greatest enabler of all for renewable power is likely to be the hybrid HVDC circuit breaker (page 27), which ABB announced at the start of 2013. The result of more than a century of development, the breaker will allow transmission grids to span continents, combining low losses and controllability.

AC remains equally important for ABB and I’m delighted that our project to provide the 325 MW grid connection for the Thornton Bank wind farm was energised over the summer – see page 16, which will be the largest onshore wind site in England and Wales.

With so many opportunities and challenges in the renewables sector, these are great times to be involved in power engineering and through my seat on the government’s Offshore Wind Programme Board, ABB is at the forefront of bringing down the cost of wind power and reducing barriers for the sector.

I would like to end by thanking Maria McCaffery, chief executive of Renewable-UK, for kindly agreeing to contribute her insightful introduction to this special issue of ffwd (page 4).

As always If you have any feedback on the subjects covered in this issue, or suggestions for future articles, we would love to hear from you.