ZURICH, Switzerland -- ABB has won a $30 million order for a HVDC power link upgrade in Democratic Republic of Congo.

Société nationale d'électricité (SNEL), the national electricity company of the DRC, awarded ABB the contract to boost transmission capacity and supply clean hydro power. The upgrade will benefit the Inga-Kolwezi high-voltage direct current (HVDC) power transmission link.

The link connects the Inga hydropower station on the Congo River to Katanga, a mining district in the southeast. Excess power is exported to the Southern African Power Pool countries.

According to an ABB release, the company built the original 1,700-kilometer link in 1982. It was previously updated in 2009.

ABB will increase transmission capacity from 520 megawatts to 1,000 MW.

“We are pleased to continue our long association with the Inga-Kolwezi HVDC Link and contribute to the strengthening of the DRC’s power infrastructure. This upgrade will boost supply of clean hydropower to industrial and domestic customers,” said Claudio Facchin, President of ABB’s Power Grids division. “This order reiterates our leading HVDC position, strategic focus on the service business and our growth drive in Africa. It also reinforces our position as a partner of choice for enabling a stronger, smarter and greener grid.”

Over 80 percent of the DRC's 80 million residents lack electricity access. Most of the country's generation capacity is used by the mining sector.

ABB employs around 5,000 people in Africa, with operations in 23 countries.