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For over a century electrical trans-mission systems have been based mainly on overhead transmission lines (OHL). The main reason for this has been the cost advantage when compared to high voltage underground transmission. Recent studies suggest the cost premium of underground transmission is in the range of 5 – 15 times the traditional overhead transmission alternative. But this comparison is already dated. Two main factors are affecting the paradigm: • Environmental restrictions are increasing the costs and implementation time for overhead transmission. • Technological development significantly reduces the cost of underground transmission. There are several reasons why underground HVDC cables have a better environmental profile than overhead HVAC lines. LAND USE: An HVDC cable uses significantly less land than an overhead HVAC line. The right-of-way for a 400 kV OHL can be a 60 m wide strip where no buildings/high trees are allowed whereas an underground DC cable needs at most a 4 m wide inspection road on top of it. For AC OHL the amount of land required for a transmission is 2,400 hectares (1 hectare = 10,000 m2). However only 160 hectares are required forDC cable (< 6 percent).
What makes underground HVDC cable preferable?
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the field for a DC cable is static (nonradiant).com Right-of-way as a loss of CO2 sink Growing forests are considered CO2 sinks because trees convert carbon dioxide from the atmosphere into carbon stored in corresponds to field levels normally encountered in city environments today. This level AUDIBLE NOISE: Restrictions on land use stretch beyond the immediate right-of-way. .com Magnetic and electrical fields can also restrict the use of land close to an OHL. Applying the same precautionary policy as for AC would not call for the provision of any “EMF corridor” around an underground DC cable. The width of this “noise corridor” depends on local noise ordinance as well as on the design and voltage of the line.1000projects. In several countries a precautionary policy vis-à-vis magnetic fields is in force.fullinterview. The field immediately above the cable is far less than the earth’s natural magnetic field.com www.4 μT safety level for 50 Hz magnetic fields from transmission lines.chetanasprojects.chetanasprojects.www.1000projects. Noise objections from neighbors make it more difficult to obtain permits.com www.com www.fullinterview. ELECTROMAGNETIC FIELD: www. An underground DC cable naturally has no audible noise emission. Audible noise from transmission line corona – most noticeable when conductors are wet in foggy weather conditions – might restrict buildings close to OHL. In contrast to an AC line.com www. The Swedish National Electrical Safety Board and the Dutch Ministry of Housing and Environment both suggest a 0.
Three properties 2000 m from the OHL (with 2 percent value reduction). the 100.com www.5 kg of CO2.780 tons of CO2 per year.3 kg 1.com www.com www. A Finnish study showed that the reduction is proportional to the distance from the line .com the form of wood and organic soil matter.fullinterview. A forest can absorb 9.C OHL 3. the material used in the DC cable has only 17. For example.www.3kg transmission is compared in below table Using life cycle assessment (LCA) to analyze the “cradle to grave” material impact. Assuming that every 500 m along the 400 km line there is: One property 500 m from the OHL (with 8 percent value reduction).000.0kg 0. If an average property is valued at $ 150.1kg A. HVDC Light technology was introduced in 1997 with a small test installation of 3 MW. Building a 400 km. In other words. The statistical material use per meter of MATERIAL Aluminium Copper PVC PEX Steel Ceramics Concrete UNDER GROUND D.6 percent the environmental impact of the AC OHL. 400 kV overhead transmission line through an area that is 75 percent forest represents a loss of a carbon sink of 16.3 kg 6.chetanasprojects.2 tons of CO2 per hectare per year.1 kg of 64. the DC cable has an environmental impact www.chetanasprojects.1000projects. Since then both cables and converters have progressed dramatically in both size and performance.1000projects.4 kg 2.com www. MATERIAL USE: The material intensity of an AC OHL is higher than a DC cable. a study carried out in the United Kingdom showed the value of detached properties a distance of 100m from OHL were 38 percent lower than comparable properties.fullinterview.3kg 376. AESTHETICS – PROPERTY VALUE: Several studies have shown that property values are reduced close to OHL.equivalents per meter and the AC OHL has an impact of 365.4 kg of CO2equivalents per meter.com . Two properties 1000 m from the OHL (with 4 percent value reduction).C 2.
fullinterview. However.com www.chetanasprojects. HVDC can be very effective in damping power oscillations. the transmission system can be operated in a more optimal way leading to lower electrical losses. On a 350 MW transmission (50 percent utilization) there are no HVDC losses whereas HVAC losses amount to 5 percent. POWER SYSTEM STABILITY: HVDC systems can never become overloaded.com reduction in property value along the 400 km OHL then amounts to a staggering $ 25 million.com www.com www. as well as avoiding or limiting cascading system disturbances. This means the operator has 76. If the voltage is increased. it is better to choose high voltage lines for transmission over large distances because not only can transmission capacity be increased but losses are also reduced.990 tons of CO2 www.i. The to the loss reduction of the AC grid.com emitted per year. ELECTRICAL LOSSES When HVDC Light underground transmission is used inside an ACgrid. the . in parallel with AC-lines: an HVDC Light® converter is excellent at generating or consuming reactive power.. for AC transmission in underground cables the situation is somewhat different.e.1000projects.com www. The more efficient operation of a transmission system with HVDC can be attributed to two causes: THE average higher voltage level in the AC grid and the reduction of reactive power flows.e.. For example.www. particularly when connecting two points inside the same AC-grid.chetanasprojects. Technical characteristics of underground transmission system When planning traditional overhead transmission lines.1000projects. i.fullinterview. the HVDC line is considered to transmit electricity “without” losses.650 MWh more electricity to sell each year with an HVDC connection. The overall electrical losses1) can be translated into 45. and they offer additional benefits through their ability to control power flow and voltage .
2.1000projects. a new transmission system designed for underground transmission This technology is based on some key components: Extruded cable technology Converter technology Control and protection technology Voltage source converters cause less stress on the cables than conventional HVDC converters and this has enabled the development of extruded cables for HVDC.Is very flexible and this simplifies handling during installation. EMF . Reasons why underground HVDC cables have a better environmental profile than overhead HVAC lines include land use. and power SYSTEMS STABILITY.Superior voltage and reactive power control reduces the risk of blackouts. audible noise.www.fullinterview. Typically they are half the height and their footprint is 25 percent smaller.com reactive power absorption of the cable increases so that its technical maximum length is reduced rather than increased. The extruded cable has some significant advantages over www. 3. They are 1 Is completely oil free. 4.chetanasprojects.Dramatically smaller size.com www.com traditional mass impregnated cables.com www. Has low weight.1000projects. . HVDC Light.com www.fullinterview.material use. Voltage source converters also show significant advantages over traditional HVDC converters such as: Layout of HVDC transmission 1. The laws of physics in this case then work against long AC transmission. Today’s experience of cable transmission suggests a maximum transmission distance of about 60 km for a 345 KV AC underground cable.Has very simple prefabricated joints. 2.chetanasprojects.com www.
New high-speed control and protection technology makes it possible to fully utilize the inherent benefits of the voltage source converters. an HVDC Light system is highly modularized and makes greater use of semiconductors The product matrix shown in highlights available modules.fullinterview.com www.com construction.www.chetanasprojects.1000projects. 4.com www. The converter design has been refined by the adoption of new switching schemes that reduce the number of components and cut the converter losses by 60%.com www. Since then. both cables and converters have progressed dramatically in both size and performance. 5.They can operate in very weak networks and do not require network reinforcements. Today the largest system in service is a 330 MW system operating at ± 150kV.They reduce down time after outages with their “black start” capability.com www.1000projects. In contrast to traditional HVDC. .They act as a “firewall” for network disturbances and block the cascading trips that occur in AC systems2). • • • • • • Increased environmental pressure on overhead transmission lines is both raising total costs and increasing the risk for substantial project delays. TECHNICAL DEVELOPMENT OF HVDC LIGHT SYSTEMS HVDC Light technology was introduced to the market in 1997 with a small test installation of 3 MW. A 350 MW system s currently under www.chetanasprojects.com 3.fullinterview.
a needs evaluation is required.chetanasprojects.1000projects.chetanasprojects.5 m below the surface).com cost comparison is performed. Some key checkpoints are Listed in below table TABLE: • Need for power transmission 50–1000 MW Need for accurate and fast control Distance more than 100 km • • . The total cost of laying the 170 km cable system amounted to the very reasonable sum of about AU$ 10 million ($ 7.com www. some unique characteristics particularly when it comes to increasing network security. Cost comparison Overhead lines – Underground transmission The new HVDC technology has.com Cable installation techniques have relatively low weight (typically < 10 kg/m).6 million).com www. and . making its installation similar to that of fibre-optic cables: the equipment used for trenching and the depth at which the cables are laid is comparable (1 to 1. This means before a strict A crucial element in underground transmission is the cable installation technique.com www.www. a very successful installation was implemented using modified pipeline installation equipment. Up to 3 km of cable was successfully installed per day.com www.fullinterview. In the Murraylink project in Australia.1000projects. HVDC Light cables www. as already mentioned.fullinterview.
for example: • Additional investments in equipment to manage . then this reason alone is sufficient to warrant an HVDC Light® solution. A comparison of the direct investmentcost shows the following span: The direct investment cost for HVDC Light option including converters. such as: • The need for 50 –1000 MW. A study made by ICF consultancy in 2001 shows a huge variation in costs from country to country. www.chetanasprojects.com www.the direct investment cost for the AC overhead option gives a cost range of $ 130 – $ 440 million for the line including installation and substations. If.700 MW over 400 km It is assumed this case fulfils at least five of the criteria outlined in .1000projects.1000projects. other factors should also be considered. wind storms/hurricanes or heavily icing conditions may apply • • • • • L If at least three of these conditions are fulfilled it is likely that an HVDC Light system will offer a very attractive solution.2 times the overhead option. • Difficulty to obtain permits for OHL. cables and their installation is in the range of $ 275 – $ 420 million. Thebreadth of this range is primarily due to differences in installation costs and local market conditions. OHL permits are difficult to obtain. This is quite adifference from the normally anticipated 5 – 15 times. Furthermore.com Need for low maintenance Need for small footprint Risk of low harmonic resonances Need for fast voltage an reactive power control to enhance network security Case 1. In the following paragraphs.6 and 3. At the direct investment cost level the price for the underground alternative is between 0. • Transmission distance is greaterthan 100 km. however. For the AC overhead option there is an even greater span in cost. • Risk of dynamic instability.com • Difficult to obtain permits for OHL • • • Asynchronous networks Weak AC network Risk for dynamic in Power quality issues • Need for grid black start Need for high availability capability • although occurrence of thunderstorms. Using these data.com www.www.fullinterview.com www.com www.chetanasprojects.fullinterview. • Need for fast voltage and reactive • power control to enhance networksecurity. two examples currently being studied are presented.
When these factors are included in the evaluation. such as IGBTs (Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistor) it becomes advantageous to build VSC (Voltage Source Converters) using PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) Technology . Assume.com www. New HVDC technology in the form of HVDC Light® has made underground options technically feasible and economically viable. • Cost for permission and construction time (both cases). Depending on local conditions. • Increased transmission capacity in the existing AC grid (HVDC case).1000projects. the following realistic additional factors for the overhead option: • Additional reactive compensation $25millions • Loss of property value: $ 25 million.fullinterview. From a system point of view it acts as a motor or generator without mass that can control active and reactive power almost instantaneously. This is especially so if the new grid investment is driven by security of supply issues. • Losses (both cases).com www. HVDC Light converter technology "The Pulse Width Modulated Voltage Source Converter a close to ideal component in the transmission network. • Value of increased transmission capacity in existing AC grid Conclusions Increased environmental pressure on overhead transmission lines is both raising total costs and increasing the risk for substantial project delays. The conventional view that an underground link will cost 5 – 15 times its overhead counterpart must be revised. • Loss of property value.fullinterview.com costs for an underground highvoltage line are equal to that of traditional overhead lines.www.com www.com voltage and reactive power control in the AC case.com www.chetanasprojects.chetanasprojects. With the appearance of high switching frequency components. for example. the competitiveness of the HVDC alternative increases. • Costs for permitting the overhead solution. it is realistic that the www." Conventional HVDC converter technology is based on the use of line-commutated or phase-commutated converters (PCC). .1000projects.
chetanasprojects. A converter reactor can separate the fundamental frequency from the raw PWM waveform. UNDERGROUNDING AND RIGHTOF-WAY Entering an urban or sub-urban area with a new high-voltage overhead line may in some cases be very difficult or even impos-sible due to scarcity of available land. installing AC-cables or installing DCcables. a normal AC transformer may be used in addition to the reactor. Active and reactive power control The fundamental frequency voltage across the converter reactor defines the power flow between the AC and DC sides.com 2™ system developed by ABB. The reactive power flow is determined by the amplitude of Ug.com www. Both the alternatives with AC and DC cables can be motivated and are technically feasible. supervision and protection of the stations are implemented in software running in a family of microprocessor circuit boards.com www.www.1000projects. Installation of polymer HVDC cable systems is easier for city infeed purposes due to the flexibility and robustness of the cables and the quick installation of joints .fullinterview. instead of their paper/oil insulated counterparts. A small shunt AC- filter is placed on the AC-side of the reactor.com . The IGBT is characterized by: • • • • The key part of the HVDC Light Multi-chip design (chip paralleling is easy) Forward blocking only7 Current limiting characteristics Fully controllable turn-off converter consists of an IGBT valve bridge.fullinterview. No special converter transformers are necessary between the valve bridge and the AC-grid. Changing the phase angle between the fundamental frequency voltage generated by the converter (Ug) and the voltage on the AC bus controls the active power flow between the converter and the network.com www. as for example the HVDC-Light® cable system.chetanasprojects. Jointing polymer HVDC cables takes considerably less time than jointing paper/oil insulated ones. it is most suitable to make use of polymer DC cables. All functions for control.com www. capacitor 4. Then some of the alternatives may be increased generation capacity in the city. The magnitude of the magnetic field generated by a pair of HVDC cables in typical installation conditions is far lower than the earth magnetic field www. which is controlled by the width of the pulses from the converter bridge.1000projects. HVDC cables generate a static magnetic field. If the desired DC voltage does not match the AC system voltage. In the case that the DC alternative is chosen for reasons of system benefits. just as our own mother earth. On the DC-side there is a DC that serves as a DC filter too.
power ratings from a few tens of megawatts up to several hundreds of megawatts are available. aluminum outer wrapping and outer sealing and mechanical protection.layer. added short circuit power and in some cases limited transmission distance .fullinterview. Their strength and flexibility make the HVDC Light® cables well suited for severe installation conditions both underground as a land cable and as a submarine cable.chetanasprojects. Figure 4. cables for VSC based HVDC are manufactured with extruded plastic insulation.. Today.chetanasprojects.fullinterview. copper shield wires. dc-insulation XLPE.com www. where the earth magnetic field is compared HVDC Light® is the successful and environmentally-friendly way to design a power transmission system for a submarine cable. Therefore. A typical graph is shown in is compared Figure 3.www.. AC-cables generally solve the problem of right-of-way but may be difficult to implement due to reactive power balancing problems. HVDC Light® cables have extruded polymer insulation. adds no short circuit power and actually enables improved reactive power balance due to the properties of the converters.1000projects. meaning that they are oil-free by design. no harmful effects worse than those induced by our own earth are induced by the cable system.com www.1000projects. Pair of extruded land DC cables showing from center outward: aluminum conductor. With extruded DC cables.com www. . HVDC Light® has the capability to rapidly control both active What is HVDC Light? HVDC > HVDC Light > What is HVDC Light? www. The converter station design is based on voltage source converters (VSCs) employing state of the art turn-on/turn-off IGBT power semiconductors that operate with high frequency pulse width modulation. The DC cable alternative gives no technical limit to the transmission distance. forcing measures such as shunt reactors to be implemented. The extruded cables are more flexible than their oil-impregnated counterparts and they are much more easily jointed using prefabricated joints.com . conducting XLPE. HVDC Light® is HVDC technology based on voltage source converters (VSCs). ground side conductive XLPE.com we all are exposed to. An AC-cable network has a large generation of reactive power during low-load.com www. The power handling of a given cable dimension is higher for DC than for AC due to better utilization of the insulation and lower losses in conductor and shield. an underground cable or network interconnection.
chetanasprojects.www. This gives total flexibility regarding the location of the converters in the AC system since the requirements of shortcircuit capacity of connected AC network is low (SCR down to zero).fullinterview. Maintenance requirements are determined mainly by conventional equipment such as the AC breakers.com . HVDC Light® is an alternative to conventional AC transmission or local generation in many situations. They can be operated remotely or could even be automatic. cooling system. • HVDC cables can now also go overhead with aerial cables. • The land cables can be installed less costly with ploughing technique. to keep the voltage and frequency stable.1000projects.chetanasprojects. • Risk of oil spill. as in paper-oil-insulated cables. A pair of HVDC Light® cables • The submarine cables can be laid in deeper waters and on rough bottoms. The environmental benefits is: • Magnetic fields are eliminated since HVDC Light® cables are laid in pairs with DC currents in opposite directions.fullinterview. Power transmission via cables gives • no visual impact • no ground current • no electromagnetical fields. Wellproven and tested equipment at the factory make installation and commissioning quick and efficient.com www. • The cable metals can be reused. All equipment except the power transformers is indoors. Possible applications include: converter stations are also small. www.com www. The stations are designed to be unmanned.com and reactive power independently of each other. etc.com www.com www. • The cable insulation is PE based and not dangerous. based on the needs of the interconnected AC networks.1000projects. is eliminated.
chetanasprojects.1000projects.com www.chetanasprojects.B.1000projects.com www.com • Connecting wind farms • Underground power links • Powering islands • Oil & gas offshore platforms.www.com .com www. power from shore • Asynchronous grid connection City centre i HVDC Light cables from ABB References Hvdc Power Transmission Systems: Technology and System Interactions: KR Padiyar HVDC Facts and controllers: VK Sood A text book of electrical power : J.fullinterview.Gupta www.fullinterview.com www.