National Grid Completes Major Upgrade of Canada-New England Transmission Link

HVDC system is significant source of clean energy for the region
Jul 12, 2016 10:45 AM ET
Campaign: Energy Efficiency

WALTHAM, Mass., July 12, 2016 /3BL Media/ – National Grid recently completed a major upgrade to its portion of a 960-mile, 450 kilovolt high-voltage direct-current, or HVDC, transmission system that has been delivering clean, carbon-free electricity from Canada to New England for the past 25 years.  National Grid is the majority owner of the US portion of the system, which it operates on behalf of some 35 other energy providers.  The $27 million project took approximately three years and was completed on time and on budget.

National Grid replaced the HVDC system’s control equipment, which functions as the system’s “brain,” and the protection equipment, which detects and isolates any defective lines, equipment and abnormal conditions, thereby protecting the overall system. 

New equipment also was installed that will enable National Grid to quickly locate problems on the system’s transmission lines – especially in remote areas and in challenging terrain -- and restore service.

“This Canada-US HVDC system has been an important supplier of carbon-free energy to New England since it began operation 25 years ago,” said Rudy Wynter, president and COO of National Grid’s FERC-regulated Businesses.  “This project will ensure the system can continue to make a significant contribution to the region’s clean energy future for years to come.” 

When it was placed in service in 1990, the Canada-New England HVDC system was the first of its kind in the world, and to this day remains the largest HVDC system in the eastern US.  The system can deliver as much as 2,000 megawatts (MW) of electricity at any given time.  The HVDC system was originally designed by ABB, a world leader in power and automation technologies.  ABB also performed the upgrades.

HVDC is a very efficient technology for transmitting large amounts of electricity over long distances because it minimizes power losses. It is particularly effective in point-to-point delivery applications such as bringing large amounts of clean energy from one region to another.

National Grid has significant experience with HVDC development in the US and Europe.  As a major investor in Clean Line Energy Partners, National Grid is supporting the development of several HVDC transmission projects that will bring wind power from the Midwest US to population centers across the nation’s midsection.

National Grid also has joined forces with Anbaric Transmission to form the Green Line Infrastructure Alliance to build long-haul HVDC transmission systems to deliver wind energy, firmed up by hydropower, to New England.  The Alliance has proposed the Vermont Green Line, a 60-mile, 400 MW HVDC transmission project that will run from northern New York under Lake Champlain to Vermont, where it will connect to the New England power grid.  This wind and hydro project was submitted in response to the Clean Energy RFP that was issued earlier this year by the states of Mass., Rhode Island and Conn.  The Alliance is also proposing to build the Maine Green Line, which would deliver a combination of onshore wind and hydropower to southern New England.

In addition to having major operations in the US, National Grid owns and operates the electricity transmission system in England and Wales.  That system is linked to France and the Netherlands by HVDC interconnectors the company jointly developed, owns and operates.  National Grid is also developing proposals for a number of additional HVDC projects that would interconnect with other European countries.


About National Grid

National Grid (LSE: NG; NYSE: NGG) is an electricity and natural gas delivery company that connects nearly 7 million customers to vital energy sources through its networks in New York, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. It is the largest distributor of natural gas in the Northeast. National Grid also operates the systems that deliver gas and electricity across Great Britain.

Through its U.S. Connect21 strategy, National Grid is transforming its electricity and natural gas networks to support the 21st century digital economy with smarter, cleaner, and more resilient energy solutions. Connect21 is vital to our communities' long-term economic and environmental health and aligns with regulatory initiatives in New York (REV: Reforming the Energy Vision) and Massachusetts (Grid Modernization).

For more information please visit our website:, or our Connecting website. You can also follow us on Twitter, watch us on You Tube, like us on Facebook and find our photos on Instagram.

CONTACT: Jackie Barry – 781-907-3980