Milestone-Proposal:Virginia Smith HVDC Converter Station with Integrated AC Voltage Control Function

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Docket #:

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Is the achievement you are proposing more than 25 years old? Yes

Is the achievement you are proposing within IEEE’s fields of interest? (e.g. “the theory and practice of electrical, electronics, communications and computer engineering, as well as computer science, the allied branches of engineering and the related arts and sciences” – from the IEEE Constitution) Yes

Did the achievement provide a meaningful benefit for humanity? Yes

Was it of at least regional importance? Yes

Has an IEEE Organizational Unit agreed to pay for the milestone plaque(s)? No

Has an IEEE Organizational Unit agreed to arrange the dedication ceremony? Yes

Has the IEEE Section in which the milestone is located agreed to take responsibility for the plaque after it is dedicated? Yes

Has the owner of the site agreed to have it designated as an Electrical Engineering Milestone? Yes

Year or range of years in which the achievement occurred:


Title of the proposed milestone:

Virginia Smith HVDC Converter Station with Integrated ac Voltage Control Function

Plaque citation summarizing the achievement and its significance:

The Virgina Smith HVDC Converter Station at Sidney, NE is declared a Milestone of HVDC Technology by The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. (IEEE).

Commissioned in 1987, the station‘s core is a power semiconductor converter with integrated ac voltage control capability. It connects extremely weak parts of the eastern and western US ac grids. It limits transient overvoltages and provides dynamic ac voltage control up to its 200 MW rating.

It represents an important milestone regarding HVDC technology and cost effectiveness.

In what IEEE section(s) does it reside?

Denver, CO

IEEE Organizational Unit(s) which have agreed to sponsor the Milestone:

IEEE Organizational Unit(s) paying for milestone plaque(s):

IEEE Organizational Unit(s) arranging the dedication ceremony:

Unit: IEEE Denver Section
Senior Officer Name: Senior officer name masked to public

Unit: Denver Chapter of the IEEE Power & Energy Society / Industrial Application Society
Senior Officer Name: Senior officer name masked to public

IEEE section(s) monitoring the plaque(s):

IEEE Section: Denver Section
IEEE Section Chair name: Section chair name masked to public

Milestone proposer(s):

Proposer name: Proposer's name masked to public
Proposer email: Proposer's email masked to public

Proposer name: Proposer's name masked to public
Proposer email: Proposer's email masked to public

Please note: your email address and contact information will be masked on the website for privacy reasons. Only IEEE History Center Staff will be able to view the email address.

Street address(es) and GPS coordinates of the intended milestone plaque site(s):

Describe briefly the intended site(s) of the milestone plaque(s). The intended site(s) must have a direct connection with the achievement (e.g. where developed, invented, tested, demonstrated, installed, or operated, etc.). A museum where a device or example of the technology is displayed, or the university where the inventor studied, are not, in themselves, sufficient connection for a milestone plaque.

Please give the address(es) of the plaque site(s) (GPS coordinates if you have them). Also please give the details of the mounting, i.e. on the outside of the building, in the ground floor entrance hall, on a plinth on the grounds, etc. If visitors to the plaque site will need to go through security, or make an appointment, please give the contact information visitors will need.

Are the original buildings extant?

Yes, the Virginia Smith HVDC Converter Station near Sidney, NE is operational.

Details of the plaque mounting:

How is the site protected/secured, and in what ways is it accessible to the public?

Who is the present owner of the site(s)?

Western Area Power Administration (WAPA), Department of Energy (DOE), USA

A letter in English, or with English translation, from the site owner(s) giving permission to place IEEE milestone plaque on the property:

A letter or email from the appropriate Section Chair supporting the Milestone application:

What is the historical significance of the work (its technological, scientific, or social importance)?

The Virginia Smith HVDC Converter Station is the first interconnection between the eastern and western US ac grids without separate Static VAr Compensators (SVC). Special innovative converter control algorithms and equipment design features allow the converter to provide SVC functions for both ac buses. This new approach has been studied and confirmed in digital simulations and it has proven its validity in over 25 years of operation.

What obstacles (technical, political, geographic) needed to be overcome?

The relatively low short-circuit-ratios on both sides of the Virginia Smith HVDC station, together with given ac voltage limitations and stability requirements, represented a technical challenge for the hardware and control design of the 200 MW station.

What features set this work apart from similar achievements?

Two special features characterize the Virginia Smith HVDC Converter Station: In addition to regulating real power transfer at any MW level in either direction, the converter control offers dynamic reactive power control in response to ac voltage changes. Thus, ac voltage stability requirements are met without separate SVC on either ac bus. Dynamic overvoltage limitation is acoomplished by paralled ZnO arresters switchend with fast-closing breakers.

References to establish the dates, location, and importance of the achievement: Minimum of five (5), but as many as needed to support the milestone, such as patents, contemporary newspaper articles, journal articles, or citations to pages in scholarly books. At least one of the references must be from a scholarly book or journal article.

Supporting materials (supported formats: GIF, JPEG, PNG, PDF, DOC): All supporting materials must be in English, or if not in English, accompanied by an English translation. You must supply the texts or excerpts themselves, not just the references. For documents that are copyright-encumbered, or which you do not have rights to post, email the documents themselves to Please see the Milestone Program Guidelines for more information.