DNV KEMA expands grid laboratory

With the expansion, DNV KEMA creates a laboratory for the extreme testing segment of the upcoming market for super grids

Energy consulting and testing & certification company DNV KEMA will invest about $90 million in the expansion of its High-Power Laboratory in Arnhem, the Netherlands.

With the expansion, DNV KEMA creates a laboratory for the extreme testing segment of the upcoming market for super grids: bulk energy transport at 800 kV+ levels (800,000 volts and above). The investment has been made possible by DNV KEMA's majority shareholder, global risk management firm, DNV.

"It is evident that the global demand for electricity will rapidly increase over the next decades. According to independent studies, this growth will translate into a strong increase in investments in the global electricity transmission and distribution (T&D) infrastructure," says David Walker, CEO, DNV KEMA. "There are four major trends that relate to our future electricity supply. The first trend is the strong increase of distributed and local electricity generation, whereby people will be increasingly self-supporting in relation to their own electricity supply. This includes the development of smart energy services and smart grids, as well as the use of smart appliances."

"The second trend is the development of super grids — a wide, trans-national, or even trans-continental transmission network that facilitates the transport of high volumes of electricity across great distances," continues Walker. These super grids facilitate the integration of large-scale renewable energy.

Examples of super grids include long-distance and ultra high-voltage connections between the hydropower stations in the western part of China and the load centers on the east coast of the country, such as Beijing and Shanghai. Other examples can be found in Canada and India, and the possible connection between continental Europe and large-scale solar farms in the Sahara desert in Africa.

DNV KEMA will increase the number of short circuit generators from four to six, and extend the available testing space. As a result, the testing capacity will be technologically and physically expanded.

Once the expansion is finished in 2015, DNV KEMA's High-Power Laboratory will be the only facilities in the world capable of extreme high-power short-circuit testing at 800 kV levels and above. This will give DNV KEMA a solid platform to grow in an unpopulated market where the entrance barriers are high.

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