The digital grid

Ultrahigh-voltage DC transmission (photo)

Rising demand for renewable energy is transforming the power grid and driving a new wave of innovation in the generation and distribution of electricity.

The power sector is undergoing change on a scale not seen since the era of mass electrification began over a century ago. The old model of power flowing in one direction, from generating plant to consumer, is being turned upside down, as rooftop solar turns consumers into producers of electricity. At the same time, electricity is being transmitted over longer distances as offshore wind farms and remote solar plants are integrated into the grid.

Managing this complexity is only possible with new technologies. These technologies can prevent intermittent wind and solar power from disrupting the grid, can handle multi-directional flows of power, and can balance supply and demand. Innovative solutions are managing the flow of electrons. But increasingly they also have to manage the flow of data needed to control the whole system.

With unrivalled knowledge of electrical energy and industrial automation, and an innovation track record stretching back over a century, ABB is ideally positioned to drive the digital grid. Our offerings cover the entire electrical value chain – from generation, transmission and distribution, to electric mobility. We are at the forefront of technologies such as high-voltage direct current (HVDC), grid automation and smart grids, as well as energy efficient motors, drives and industrial automation technologies.

Among ABB’s latest power technologies are ultrahigh-voltage DC transmission, which significantly reduces losses over long distances compared with conventional power lines, as well as microgrid solutions which incorporate renewables to electrify off-grid communities in places such as Africa and India, where hundreds of millions of people lack access to electricity.