Meshed high-voltage, direct current (HVDC) network technology is a potential candidate for the future electrical power infrastructure required to enable Europe to transition to a clean, reliable and affordable energy future. It supports the optimal exploitation of geographically spread renewable energy sources by enabling countries to efficiently and cost-effectively trade the electrical energy. Particularly, the rapid development of offshore wind power in the North Sea, which requires transporting large amounts of electrical power over long distances via submarine cables, is a key application. Traditionally, European companies have pioneered the application of offshore wind and HVDC technology through innovation, and applying this to meshed networks is the next logical step to maintain a competitive advantage.
In the past, several studies have shown the socio-economic benefits and technical implications of such a meshed HVDC network. The studies often assumed that the technology required to build a meshed HVDC network would be ready and available, and that regulatory hurdles could be overcome. PROMOTioN, Progress on Meshed Offshore HVDC Transmission Networks, aims to advance on those studies, by determining all technical, regulatory, legal and financial actions that are to be taken in to implement a meshed HVDC grid, using the North Sea as an case example.
In PROMOTioN, the technical and operational requirements for meshed HVDC networks are developed to a deeper and realistic level of detail, and the key technical choices to be made are identified and supported. The technology maturity of main technical components, such as HVDC grid protection schemes, HVDC grid control strategies, HVDC circuit breakers and HVDC gas insulated switchgear is demonstrated, and recommendations for standardization, improving both technology and vendor interoperability, are provided. Current member state and EU level regulations and methodologies for cost-benefit analysis concerning the development of transnational transmission infrastructure are analysed to identify hurdles towards the implementation of a meshed offshore HVDC network. Based on this, changes are proposed to the existing EU financial and regulatory frameworks, to foster a healthy investment climate. Finally, a North Sea power house scenario up to 2050 is developed, including both offshore wind generation as well as interconnection capacity between North Sea countries, to illustrate the meshed offshore HVDC grid development for different regulatory and technical concepts.
Whereas in the first reporting period PROMOTioN laid out the modelling and requirements groundwork, in the second reporting period, which runs between January 2017 and June 2018, PROMOTioN has focussed on carrying out a deep analysis of the technical, regulatory, economic and legal aspects of meshed offshore HVDC grid development. The analysis serves to act as basis for the demonstration work packages.