HVDC will enable long distance lines in South America and underwater DC cables in Europe. But in the United States, HVDC links will have their biggest value in increasing resiliency of existing AC networks. That vision should lower utility executives and regulator anxiety over potentially stranded assets as we move to more distributed generation and delivery resources.
And that’s pretty much the consensus of several HVDC experts I chatted with at the ABB Automation and Power World conference held in Houston, Texas, earlier this month.
That also goes right along with the article 4 Reasons Why a National Grid Won't Happen.
North America’s transmission future most likely consists of the existing three regions, each with their own frequency and nominal generation resources, interlinked through back-to-back or sometimes longer linked HVDC converters. Power, real and reactive, will be traded back and forth to take the bumps out of intermittent resources (wind, solar). Since newer voltage-source converters (VSC) can provide black start and almost instantaneous ramping, an adjacent region can help out a neighbor in case of a major disaster.
That’s the dream, anyway. And that may be the biggest single protection against terrorist attack and natural disasters that we can provide.
By the way, I had a lot of fun both traveling to and working at the APW. First off, in going through the security line I stood behind Billy Gibbons, guitarist with ZZ Top (still one of my favorite bands). What a friendly guy! Even the security guard joined in our chatting as we emptied our pockets. (Bill was indeed, a Sharp Dressed Man)
The musical theme kept going. Kool and the Gang put on a great show for the record 8,000 attendance at APW. But as they were warming up and checking sound levels, our video crew was trying to finish up taping my interviews with several ABB executive experts. It was take after take as we tried to squeeze in between the outbreak of drum and trumpet. Finally we just decided to work the random sounds into the interviews and it came out great.
How Kool is that?