Project managers from Germany-based Siemens AG, a PMI Global Executive
Council member, had never built such bulk power converter stations that connected to HVDC Plus technology—a new type of high-voltage direct-current
power line—threaded entirely underground as a land-to-land connection.
“We couldn’t refer to another project and just hit copy and paste,” says
Volker Lehmann, Siemens’ project director based in Erlangen, Germany.
“This was the first time for a project size like this, so we really had to start
Although Siemens deployed the first HVDC Plus system in November 2010
in San Francisco, California, USA, that project ran the power cable underwater
rather than through the ground. Unlike the underwater installation, the underground installation in Europe required negotiations with landowners whose
property was on the line’s route, Mr. Lehmann says. Plus, the converter stations
with HVDC Plus technology required special technical features that were new
to electrical engineers in Europe. In particular, the stations’ closed loop control systems required Siemens to use engineers who have “a very high level of
understanding in order to manage the converter stations for testing and later
operation and maintenance,” he says.
Geography and regulations also required double design work. The team had
Santa Llogaia d’Àlguema
June 2008: French and Spanish
governments sign agreement
outlining main features of the
power line and converter
December 2010: Inelfe hires
Siemens AG to build the
January 2012: Construction of the
converter stations begins.
August 2014: Construction of the
converter stations ends.
September 2014: All work on
power line project completed.
Mid-2015: The power line and
converter stations become commercially operational.
The entry platform of the
tunnel in Montesquieu-des-Albéres, France