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Introduction to HVDC Transmission system:
Comparison of AC and DC Transmission,
application, Types of DC Links, Main
components of HVDC transmission system,
Modern Trends in HVDC Technology,
Telecommunication requirements in HVDC
First commercial application of HVDC between Swedish
mainland and the island of Gotland in 1954.
Underwater link of 90 km and 20 MW.
After the advent of thyristor convertor, New Brunswick
and Quebec 320 MW back-to-back DC interconnection
commissioned in 1972.
With reduced size, cost and improved reliability of power
electronic converters, has made HVDC transmission more
In North America, total HVDC transmission capacity in
1987 was 14,000 MW.
Limitations of HVAC

Reactive power loss

Current carrying capacity
Skin and Ferranti effect
Power flow control is not possible.
Advantages of HVDC

No reactive power loss

No Stability Problem
No Charging Current
No Skin & Ferranti Effect
Power control is possible
Requires less space compared to ac for same voltage rating
and size.
Ground can be used as return conductor
Less corona loss and Radio interference

Cheaper for long distance transmission

Asynchronous operation possible
No switching transient
No transmission of short circuit power
No compensation problem
Low short circuit current
Fast fault clearing time
Disadvantages of HVDC

Cost of terminal equipment is high

Introduction of harmonics
Blocking of reactive power
Point to point transmission
Limited overload capacity
Huge reactive power requirement at the converter terminals.
Comparison of AC and DC Transmission

The relative merits of the two modes of transmission(AC and

DC) which need to considered by a system planner are based on
the following factors:
Economics of Transmission
Technical performance
A major feature of power systems is the continuous expansion
necessitated by increasing power demand .
This implies that the establishment of a particular line must be
consider as a part of an overall long term system planning.
Economics of power transmission:
The cost of transmission line includes the investment and
operational costs.
Investment cost includes,
Right of way
Transmission towers
Terminal equipment

Operational costs includes

It mainly due to cost of losses
Right of Way
Right of Way(RoW):

An electric transmission line right-of-way (ROW) is a strip of

land used by Electrical utilities to construct, operate, maintain
and repair the transmission line facilities.
Rights of way may also include the purchase of rights to
remove danger trees. A danger tree is a tree outside the right of
way but with the potential to do damage to equipment within
the right of way. If the danger tree falls or is cut down, it could
strike poles, towers, wires, lines, appliances or other
equipment and disrupt the flow of electricity to our customers.
This Implies that for a given power level, DC lines requires
less RoW, Simpler , and cheaper towers and reduced
conductors and insulator costs.
The power losses are also reduced with DC as there are only
two conductors are used.
No skin effect with DC is also beneficial in reducing power
loss marginally.
The dielectric losses in case of power cables is also very less
for DC transmission.
The corona effects tends to less significant on DC conductors
than for AC and this leads to choice of economic size of
conductors with DC transmission.

The other factors that influence the line cost are the cost of
compensation and terminal equipment.
In dc lines do not require compensation but the terminal
equipment costs are increased due to the presence of
converters and filters.
Cost of HVDC Transmission
Costs vary widely depending on power rating, circuit length,
overhead vs. underwater route, land costs, and AC network
improvements required at either terminal.
For example, for an 8 GW, 40 km link laid under the English
Channel, the following are approximate primary equipment
costs for a 2 GW, 500 kV bipolar conventional HVDC link is:
Converter stations ~$170 M
Subsea cable + installation ~$1.5 M/km
So for an 8 GW capacity between England and France in four links,
little change is left from ~$1.2B for the installed works. Add another
$300$450M for the other works depending on additional onshore
works required
Comparison between the prices of AC & DC
HVDC System Configurations and Components
HVDC links can be broadly classified into:

Monopolar links
Bipolar links
Homopolar links
Monopolar Links
It uses one conductor
The return path is provided by ground or water
Use of this system is mainly due to cost considerations
A metallic return may be used where earth resistivity is too high
This configuration type is the first step towards a bipolar link
Bipolar Links
It uses two conductors, one positive and the other negative
Each terminal has two converters of equal rated voltage,
connected in series on the DC side
The junctions between the converters is grounded
Currents in the two poles are equal and there is no ground current
If one pole is isolated due to fault, the other pole can operate with
ground and carry half the rated load (or more using overload
capabilities of its converter line)
Homopolar Links
It has two or more conductors all having the same
polarity, usually negative
Since the corona effect in DC transmission lines is less
for negative polarity, homopolar link is usually
operated with negative polarity
The return path for such a system is through ground
Components of HVDC Transmission Systems

1. Converters
2. Smoothing reactors
3. Harmonic filters
4. Reactive power supplies
5. Electrodes
6. DC lines
7. AC circuit breakers
Components of HVDC Transmission Systems
They perform AC/DC and DC/AC conversion
They consist of valve bridges and transformers
Valve bridge consists of high voltage valves connected in a 6-
pulse or 12-pulse arrangement
The transformers are ungrounded such that the DC system will
be able to establish its own reference to ground
Smoothing reactors
They are high reactors with inductance as high as 1 H in series
with each pole
They serve the following:
They decrease harmonics in voltages and currents in DC lines
They prevent commutation failures in inverters
Prevent current from being discontinuous for light loads
Harmonic filters
Converters generate harmonics in voltages and currents. These
harmonics may cause overheating of capacitors and nearby
generators and interference with telecommunication systems
Harmonic filters are used to mitigate these harmonics
Components of HVDC Transmission Systems contd .

Reactive power supplies

Under steady state condition conditions, the reactive power
consumed by the converter is about 50% of the active power
Under transient conditions it could be much higher
Reactive power is, therefore, provided near the converters
For a strong AC power system, this reactive power is
provided by a shunt capacitor
Electrodes are conductors that provide connection to the
earth for neutral. They have large surface to minimize current
densities and surface voltage gradients
DC lines
They may be overhead lines or cables
DC lines are very similar to AC lines
AC circuit breakers
They used to clear faults in the transformer and for taking the
DC link out of service
They are not used for clearing DC faults
DC faults are cleared by converter control more rapidly
Application of HVDC:
The main areas of application based on the economics and technical
performances, are
Long distance bulk power transmission.
The underground of submarine cables.
Asynchronous connection of AC system with different frequencies.
Control and stabilize the power system with power flow control.
Based on the interconnection, three types of HVDC is possible.
Bulk Power transmission
Back to back connection
Modulation of AC system
Purpose of HVDC based on interconnection:

Bulk power transmission

(Transfer the power from one end to another end without
tapping power in between).For this DC system is the best option. (Or)
HVDC transmission where bulk power is transmitted from one point to
another point over long distance.
Power flow control (Back to Back HVDC)
If two regions are very nearby, we can monitor the power flow
from one region to another to control, emergency support as per our
requirement.(Or)Back to Back link where rectification and inversion is
carried out in the same converter station with very small or no DC
To provide stability to AC system
This is basically used to control the power and stabilize the
system. It is also used to connect two different frequencies system.
(Modulation of AC) AC system is connected parallel with DC
system.(or)Parallel connection of AC and DC links. Where both AC
and DC run parallel. It is mainly used to modulate the power of AC

HVDC is the better option for above cited purposes while compare
with its AC system.