Aquila Interoperability Package

Project Aquila is a world-leading project which will develop a Multi-Terminal, Multi-Vendor DC-hub in Peterhead; establishing the foundations for DC-Grids in GB. This DC-Hub in Peterhead reduces the need for on-shore converter stations, thereby minimising costs, and environmental impacts.

Aquila represents a pathfinder project as approved by the energy minister, BEIS, Ofgem and National Grid ESO in July 2022. A copy of this letter of support may be found here:

An introductory video of the Project Aquila concept and rationale is as follows;

Project Aquila is being delivered in coordination with a GB HVDC Interoperability Expert Working Group that will ensure the lessons learned are applied to future HVDC networks in GB.

The working group is regularly attended by HVDC vendors and related transmission and system operators of the GB Power System enabling review of multi-terminal control approaches being adopted and the associated tests and specifications relating to them.

As part of the project, the National HVDC Centre is undertaking the workstream of “Aquila Interoperability”, which is a £ 2M project over one year in 2023-2024. Dong Chen is leading the project team, working closely with the principle HVDC manufacturers to derive and demonstrate interoperable and vendor agnostic specifications for HVDC converters. They include the development of multi-terminal control, patenting and testing of principles allowing TSOs to specify multi-terminal control functions to deploy an HVDC network surrounding a switching station at Netherton, Scotland to interoperate across different vendors and with greater reliability and resilience than before

The manufacturers are working together to provide IP-protected “black boxed”, detailed, real-time models of their interoperable converter stations to the HVDC Centre, where we can run real-time co-simulations to prove their operation in a multi-terminal environment.

This work follows on from the completion of project “off-shore functional design” which has constructed the key components of HVDC systems such as Project Aquila and other HND arrangements, allowing their assessment in a vendor agnostic manner, and allows “dry runs” of the vendor tests required in a deliberate incremental way. The test environment includes a number of “world firsts” using new real-time technologies such as GTSOC, to host vendor replica control & protection. Our initial tests demonstrating multi-terminal multi vendor control will be completed in late spring/ early summer 2024, and will be followed by project specific hosting, testing and dry running of the eventual delivery of multi-vendor multi-terminal arrangements within the Peterhead hub.

This development is crucial to enable to the development of the planned grid (National Grid ESO’s HND), to enable the connection of renewable energy sources to meet our Net-Zero targets (


A webinar was hosted with CIGRE UK to disseminate the initial concept of “Aquila Interoperability” on 25th Oct 2023