A world record in direct current transmission

May 03, 2011
Siemens Energy is currently erecting the power converter stations for a high-voltage direct-current (HVDC) transmission link between Baixas, to the west of Perpignan in France, and Santa Llogaia, south-west of Figueras in Spain. The installation can transmit a rated power of 2000 megawatts (MW) - enough to transport large amounts of electric power with a minimum of transmission losses. The stations use the new HVDC technology HVDC Plus with a transmission voltage of ±320 kilovolts (kV)

Siemens is building power converter stations for a high-voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission system with a record capacity of 2 x 1,000 megawatts. Beginning in 2013 the new HVDC PLUS technology will transmit 2,000 megawatts (MW) as direct current over a distance of 65 kilometers underground. This system, which is being partially funded by the EU, connects the French and Spanish grids between Baixas and Santa Llogaia. At present the two countries’ grids are linked only by low-capacity lines.

Power grids will have to be substantially upgraded throughout Europe before more renewable energy can be used. The Desertec power generation project, in particular, will require high-performance electricity highways. Alternating current is commonly used for overhead lines, but it isn’t suitable for transmitting high capacities over long distances underwater or underground. In non-overhead systems, losses would be very high due to the charging and discharging of the cable capacities. In an HVDC system, on the other hand, transmission losses are 30 to 40 percent lower than in a comparable three-phase alternating current transmission line.

By 2013, developers at Siemens Energy will have constructed a system that can transmit 1,000 MW through each of two cables. The power will be transmitted at the highest voltage possible for today’s cables: +/-320 kilovolts. The new HVDC PLUS power converter stations use VSC-MMC technology, which is not only more flexible and robust than today’s systems, but also less prone to faults. At the heart of the new system is a converter that uses insulated gate bipolar transistors (IGBTs), which are semiconductor devices that convert alternating current into direct current and vice-versa. The system is very flexible since IGBTs can be switched at any time, no matter how high the voltage. A reactive power exchange is possible between each power converter and the three-phase alternating current network, which helps to stabilize overloaded grids. In addition, MMC technology causes few high-frequency faults, which diminish voltage quality. So there is no need for high frequency filters. The system also has a black start capability, which means the grid doesn’t require external assistance to gradually restart after a blackout. Another advantage of the system is that the energy converters don’t have to change their polarity if the direction of the transmission is reversed, thus reducing wear and tear.

A 1,000-MW HVDC cable was recently put into operation along a 260-kilometer underwater line between the Netherlands and the UK. HVDC systems are part of ’ environmental portfolio, with which the company generated about €28 billion in sales in 2010.

Explore further: Jindal: Obama hasn't done enough to harness energy

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Saving energy with power grid of the future

Nov 02, 2010

Green energy too comes out of the electricity socket, but to get there it has to travel a long journey – from wind turbines in the North Sea or regional solar, wind and biogas power plants. On the way ...

Fast charging station for electric vehicles

Apr 05, 2011

Siemens has launched a new electric-vehicle charging station on the market that can fully recharge a battery within one hour. By doubling the output to 22 kilowatts, the charging station cuts charging times ...

Sub-sea electricity cable from Scotland to Norway planned

Feb 04, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- A study into a proposed North Sea interconnector will examine the possibility of a sub-sea electricity cable linking Scotland and Norway, according to an announcement earlier this week in Aberdeen by Scotland's ...

Recommended for you

Congress: Safety agency mishandled GM recall

8 hours ago

Both houses of Congress scolded the U.S. highway safety agency Tuesday over its tardy handling of a deadly problem with General Motors cars, questioning whether it is competent to guarantee the safety of ...

Jindal: Obama hasn't done enough to harness energy

21 hours ago

The governor of the state of Louisiana, a possible Republican presidential candidate, said Tuesday that President Barack Obama's administration has become "science deniers," failing to do enough to harness the nation's energy ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Husky
not rated yet May 03, 2011
Also there is the The 700 MW, 580 km HVDC cable between Norway and the Netherlands, often the norwegians have more hydropower available than they use, or sometimes during drought they import from us, hvdc opens a flexible market for current to flow