Progress towards a European supergrid


Brussels, Belgium — (METERING.COM) — April 4, 2013 – There are no major limitations to the development of a European supergrid and EU policy makers must put in place the regulatory framework to enable large scale interconnection between member states.

This was the call from Friends of the Supergrid chairman, Marcello del Brenna, at the recent Supergrids 2013 event.

With such action the first phase of the supergrid can be delivered this decade, linking three or four member states across the North Sea, and European industry leadership would be maintained.

The European supergrid is defined as a pan-European transmission network facilitating the integration of large scale renewable energy and the balancing and transportation of electricity.

Key technologies include high voltage direct current (HVDC) as the enabler for long distance efficient power transmission including submarine and onshore cables. Flexible AC transmission systems (FACTS) can provide effective solutions for controlling load flows in the parallel AC system of so-called supernodes, which would interconnect individual HVDC links, and maintaining system stability.

According to the report, Roadmap to the Supergrid Technologies, released at the event, the development towards a supergrid has shown significant progress over the past year. Among the advances are increased power ratings for voltage source converters, demonstrators for DC side fault clearing, and the start of standardization work for HVDC grids in Cigre and Cenelec.

However, further progress will be governed by four non-technical issues:

  1. International harmonization of grid codes and transmission investments
  2. International harmonized regulatory procedures
  3. Methods to share cross-border renewable subsidiary schemes
  4. Multivendor and multi-stakeholder revenue models.

In the optimistic market scenario the EU changes rules and regulations to promote formation of a supergrid, while in the pessimistic scenario, new harmonization, support schemes and a supergrid business model will be delayed until at least 2018.

In the intermediate realistic scenario, new technical improvements will come continuously. Tendering under new grid codes and harmonized support schemes can be done already by 2014. Several interregional onshore and offshore multi-terminal schemes may be in operation by 2017. Commitments to reach 2020 targets are driven by pushing aggressively for building new renewable generation capacity.

The Friends of the Supergrid comprises companies and organizations with a mutual interest in promoting the policy agenda for a European supergrid.