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Reliable and Sustainable Power Supply for Urban Centers

Sept. 26, 2007 - News Release - Seimens

Trans Bay Cable, LLC has awarded Siemens Power Transmission & Distribution, Inc. (SPT&D) a contract worth more than US $150 million to construct a 53-mile undersea high voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission link between San Francisco’s City Center electrical power grid and a Pacific Gas & Electric substation near Pittsburg, California. The HVDC PLUS system will transmit up to 400 megawatts at a direct current (DC) voltage of 200 kilovolts and is the first order for Siemens using its innovative HVDC PLUS technology. The main advantages of the new HVDC PLUS link are the increased network security and reliability due to network upgrades and reduced system losses.

A wholly-owned subsidiary of Babcock & Brown LP, Trans Bay Cable LLC, the project developer, will make the electrical connection available to supply electrical energy from Pittsburg to increase reliability and cover increasing demands for power in San Francisco. The project will be implemented by a consortium of Siemens and Milan-based Prysmian Energy Cables and Systems. As consortium leader, Siemens was awarded a turnkey contract that comprises the converter stations for the HVDC PLUS system, including engineering, design, manufacturing, installation and commissioning of the HVDC transmission system. The company will deliver all high voltage components including transformers, converter submodules, converter reactors and breakers and is responsible for the control and protection, civil works and building systems, including the special requirements for electrical components and buildings in a highly seismic zone like San Francisco. The HVDC PLUS solution for Trans Bay Cable utilizes a minimum amount of space – crucial for converter sites in urban areas – and minimizes environmental impact such as visual implication, audible noise and transport during construction. Prysmian will provide the submarine power cables that will be installed in the San Francisco Bay.

Construction will begin in the third quarter of 2007 and the system will begin operation in 2010.

“As demonstrated in California in past weeks, soaring energy demands require that we develop new technologies to provide more flexibility in the transmission and distribution of our nation’s power supply. This system will provide the reliable, consistent and safe transmission of power from the City of Pittsburg to San Francisco,” said Dave Pacyna, president and CEO of Siemens Power Transmission & Distribution. “Babcock & Brown and Siemens have been working together with federal, state and local political and regulatory leaders whose support and vision have been vital to ensuring the success of this project. Siemens is pleased to put our advanced technologies to work to improve our country’s energy infrastructure.”

“Trans Bay Cable’s mission is to provide a commercially viable energy solution for greater San Francisco. As energy demand increases worldwide, high voltage direct current transmission plays an increasingly important role, particularly in megacities like San Francisco, especially as it becomes necessary to tap energy reserves far away from the point of consumption,” said David Parquet, Trans Bay Cable vice president. “We selected Siemens because of the company’s demonstrated success in implementing highly complex projects successfully in other cities. This project will demonstrate the power of innovation to meet our nation’s energy needs while creating access to renewable energy sources for San Francisco and helping to lower energy costs for consumers.”

HVDC technology is used as an alternative to conventional alternating current (AC) transmission because it is the most efficient way of transporting large quantities of energy over long distances. HVDC transmission systems also are controllable adding more flexibility and stability, limiting the effects of disturbances such as blackouts. HVDC PLUS – New Transmission Technology

The Trans Bay Cable Project will be the premier installation of Siemens’ new HVDC technology, HVDC PLUS (Power Link Universal System), an advance in HVDC transmission systems that opens new fields in proven HVDC technology. Its innovative design offers technical as well as economical advantages. And with the implementation of voltage-sourced converters (VSC), HVDC PLUS is the preferred solution in space-constrained installations. It is ideal for the connection of remote offshore platforms and wind farms to the onshore grid as well as for high-density areas such as San Francisco. HVDC PLUS enhances the performance of the transmission grid, improves reliability and reduces maintenance and assembly requirements.

The heart of the HVDC PLUS converter stations is the Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistor (IGBT) based converter where the conversion from AC to DC transmission and reverse takes place. In contrast to line-commutated converter technology, the HVDC PLUS system operates with power semiconductors that have turn-on and turn-off capability.

The HVDC PLUS system makes use of the advantages offered by multilevel voltage-sourced converter technology, which allows connection to very low power systems as well as supplying passive systems, and active and reactive power can be set independently. The capability of very rapid intervention in the power converter for control and protection purposes makes the system highly dynamic, significant for system faults and malfunctions in three-phase systems. Compared to conventional line-commutated HVDC technology, a much smaller footprint is required.

In addition to enabling a straight path for energy from the East Bay, the Trans Bay Cable system will decrease the overall transmission grid congestion in that area, increase overall security and reliability of the electrical system, and provide potential savings to ratepayers in the San Francisco area.

About Babcock & Brown

Babcock & Brown is a global investment and advisory firm with longstanding capabilities in structured finance and the creation, syndication and management of asset and cash flow-based investments. Babcock & Brown was founded in 1977 and is listed on the Australian Stock Exchange. Babcock & Brown operates from 29 offices across Australia, North America, Europe, Asia, United Arab Emirates and Africa and has in excess of 1000 employees worldwide. Babcock & Brown has five operating divisions including real estate, infrastructure and project finance, operating leasing, structured finance and corporate finance. The company has established a funds management platform across the operating divisions that has resulted in the creation of a number of focused investment vehicles in areas including real estate, renewable energy and infrastructure. For further information about Babcock & Brown please visit:

About Siemens Power Transmission & Distribution (USA)

Siemens Power Transmission & Distribution, Inc., headquartered in Raleigh, NC, creates innovative product, system and service solutions for its customers – electric utilities, transmission organizations, Independent System Operators, and large energy consumers. It is a leading supplier of high and medium voltage power delivery equipment, energy management systems, network planning and power system engineering software for regulated and deregulated generation, transmission, and distribution markets. The company’s products and systems are used to increase power system capacity and improve the reliability, stability and flexibility of power delivery and network control systems. It has operations in Wendell, NC; Jackson, MS; Minneapolis, MN; San Jose, CA; Schenectady, NY; Jackson, TN; Heber Springs, AR; and Atlanta, GA. For more information visit us at:

Siemens AG (NYSE:SI) is one of the largest global electronics and engineering companies with reported worldwide sales of $107.4 billion in fiscal 2006. Founded 160 years ago, the company is a leader in the areas of Medical, Power, Automation and Control, Transportation, Information and Communications, Lighting, Building Technologies, Water Technologies and Services and Home Appliances. With its U.S. corporate headquarters in New York City, Siemens in the USA has sales of $21.4 billion and employs approximately 70,000 people throughout all 50 states and Puerto Rico. Eleven of Siemens' worldwide businesses are based in the United States. With its global headquarters in Munich, Siemens AG and its subsidiaries employ 480,000 people in 190 countries. For more information on Siemens in the United States:


Updated: 2016/06/30

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