Hitachi to supply HVDC tech for 3GW SunZia project in the US

Pattern Energy has selected Hitachi Energy to supply high-voltage direct current (HVDC) and other advanced technologies for the 3GW SunZia transmission project, which was given the regulatory green light on 18 May.

The new transmission link will connect the 3.5GW SunZia Wind project in New Mexico to the power grid in Arizona and southern California (pic credit: Getty Images)

It will connect the 3500MW SunZia Wind project in New Mexico to the power grid in Arizona and Southern California via one of the world’s largest transmission links delivering renewable energy.

Hitachi’s “HVDC light” technology will transfer and integrate up to 3GW of wind power from the SunZia project over more than 885km to the regional power grid.

A map of the planned tranmission line (pic credit: Pattern Energy)

The company has already started work on designing and engineering the two HVDC light converter stations, one at either end of the link. The transmission station converts the power from alternating current (AC) to direct current (DC) for transport in the overhead lines, then back to AC for integration into the receiving grid.

Hunter Armistead, CEO of Pattern Energy, hailed the collaboration with Hitachi Energy as “an important milestone” for the transmission project. “The use of HVDC technology will enhance power grid reliability and resilience and play a vital role in delivering clean energy and deploying a sustainable energy system in the US,” he said.

Hitachi partnered with infrastructure solutions specialist Quanta Services to provide a turnkey solution for the project, including managing the HVDC construction and building installation at the associated project sites.

Hitachi will also supply AC “chopper” technology for the project. This is designed to help restore power if its flow is interrupted by weather or other contingency events.

The HVDC converter stations are expected to be in service by the end of 2025 to support final testing and commissioning of the SunZia wind facilities in 2026.

Shell and the University of California recently signed power purchase agreements with Pattern Energy for electricity from the SunZia wind farm.