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

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Docket #:2013-19

This Proposal has been approved, and is now a Milestone

To the proposer’s knowledge, is this achievement subject to litigation?

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

Is the achievement you are proposing within IEEE’s designated fields as defined by IEEE Bylaw I-104.11, namely: Engineering, Computer Sciences and Information Technology, Physical Sciences, Biological and Medical Sciences, Mathematics, Technical Communications, Education, Management, and Law and Policy. 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)? Yes

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 IEEE Milestone? Yes

Year or range of years in which the achievement occurred:


Title of the proposed milestone:

Virginia Smith High-Voltage Direct-Current Converter Station, 1988

Plaque citation summarizing the achievement and its significance:

Built by Siemens, owned and operated by Western Area Power Administration (US DOE), the 200 MW HVDC Virginia Smith Converter Station near Sidney, Nebraska, connected the eastern and western U.S. grids. Its core technology is an all solid-state converter with integrated steady-state, dynamic, and transient voltage control up to its full rating. The station was an important advance in HVDC technology and cost-effectiveness.

200-250 word abstract describing the significance of the technical achievement being proposed, the person(s) involved, historical context, humanitarian and social impact, as well as any possible controversies the advocate might need to review.

IEEE technical societies and technical councils within whose fields of interest the Milestone proposal resides.

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):

Unit: IEEE Denver Section
Senior Officer Name: Tim Weil

IEEE Organizational Unit(s) arranging the dedication ceremony:

Unit: IEEE Denver Section
Senior Officer Name: Tim Weil

Unit: Denver Chapter of the IEEE Power & Energy Society / Industrial Application Society
Senior Officer Name: William Stoick

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

IEEE Section: Denver Section
IEEE Section Chair name: Tim Weil

Milestone proposer(s):

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

Proposer name: Duane Torgerson
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 in decimal form of the intended milestone plaque site(s):

WAPA Corporate Headquarters Building, 12155 West Alameda Parkway, Lakewood, Colorado 80228 USA 35 deg. 42' 25" N, 105 deg. 08' 14" W.

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. The plaque location inside the entry hall is accessible to the public and guarded

Are the original buildings extant?

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

Details of the plaque mounting:

The plaque will be hung on the wall in the atrium of the Western Area Power Administration (WAPA) headquarters building in Lakewood, Colorado.

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

WAPA's atrium, where the plaque will be hung, is open to the public during normal business hours (Monday through Friday 8:00 am to 4.00 PM). This area is also protected by guards during these hours and monitored 24/7 by security cameras.

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

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

What is the historical significance of the work (its technological, scientific, or social importance)? If personal names are included in citation, include justification here. (see section 6 of Milestone Guidelines)

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. The Station has increased the electric power availability and quality for industries and residents on both sides near the electric border.

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

The relatively low ac system short-circuit-ratios on both sides of the Virginia Smith HVDC station, together with given ac voltage limitations and stability requirements, represented a major 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 accomplished by parallel ZnO arresters switched with fast-closing breakers.

Supporting texts and citations 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 chapters in scholarly books. 'Scholarly' is defined as peer-reviewed, with references, and published. You must supply the texts or excerpts themselves, not just the references. At least one of the references must be from a scholarly book or journal article. All supporting materials must be in English, or accompanied by an English translation.

1.) Advanced Concepts and Commissioning Experiences with the Sidney Converter Station by E. Klenk, S. Kötschau, D. Povh, Siemens AG and H. de Laneuville, D. R.Torgerson, T. L. Weaver, Western Area Power Administration; CIGRÉ 1988 Session Paper No. O/14-10

2.) Incorporating AC Voltage Regulation in HVDC Scheme Controllers and Designs by A. E. Hammad, K. Sadek, H. Koelsch, G. Gueth; EPRI Symposium on Urban Applications of DC Power Transmission, Philadelphia, USA, October 1983, Proceedings pp. 315-332

3.) Power Modulation of Sidney HVDC Scheme Part II Computer Simulation by R. K. Johnson, N. S. Klemm, K. H. Schilling, G. Thumm; IEEE Transactions on Power Delivery, Volume 4, October 1989, pp. 2153-2161

4.) Observations on Low Short Circuit Capacity Stations - Miles City and Sidney by T.L.Weaver, L. M. Greiner, R.K.Johnson, Western Area Power Administration; Presented at the IEEE 1986 Winter Power Meeting

5.) Advanced Scheme for AC Voltage Control at HVDC Converter Terminals by A.Hammad, K.Sadek, H.Koelsch, G.Gueth; IEEE 84 T&D 385-1

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.


Media:IMG 1347-control desk.pdf

Media:IMG 3320-smoothing reactor.pdf

Please email a jpeg or PDF a letter in English, or with English translation, from the site owner(s) giving permission to place IEEE milestone plaque on the property, and a letter (or forwarded email) from the appropriate Section Chair supporting the Milestone application to with the subject line "Attention: Milestone Administrator." Note that there are multiple texts of the letter depending on whether an IEEE organizational unit other than the section will be paying for the plaque(s).

Please recommend reviewers by emailing their names and email addresses to Please include the docket number and brief title of your proposal in the subject line of all emails.