Although alternating current (AC) lines have been the dominant form of electricity transmission for decades, the adoption of HVDC transmission is growing worldwide. Up to twice as efficient as AC transmission, HVDC allows interconnection of regional systems that operate asynchronously, helping to mitigate instability issues that otherwise cause outages in AC transmission.
“Growth in electricity demand, transmission system congestion, and grid instability are all helping drive new demand for HVDC transmission systems,” says Kristoffer Torvik, senior research analyst with Navigant Research. “Approximately 333 gigawatts (GW) of new HVDC transmission capacity will be added between 2013 and 2020, including nearly 200 GW in China alone.”
Helping to drive the expansion of this market is the increasing need for integration of new renewable power resources, particularly offshore wind power. Several governments in Europe have established frameworks and even stipulated offshore wind targets. In turn, utilities are implementing aggressive plans for offshore wind development, creating a market demand for advanced, offshore HVDC solutions.