3 major trends fueling the adoption of HVDC converters

In today’s highly energy-dependent world, HVDC systems play a crucial role in the supply of reliable and uninterrupted power supply. As a result, HVDC converters, a critical component of any transmission and distribution network, are gaining traction.

ABB, General Electric, Siemens, Mitsubishi Electric, CG Power and Industrial Solutions, Bharat Heavy Electricals, and Toshiba are some of the leading manufacturers of HVDC converters systems.

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In July 2020, a specially formed consortium of General Electric Renewable Energy’s Grid Solutions and Sembcorp Marine announced plans to build a next-generation HVDC system for RWE’s Sofia Offshore Wind Farm. General Electric will responsible for the procurement, engineering, construction and installation of tow HVDC converter stations with a transmission capacity of 1,400 MW at 320 kV.

Reports estimate that global HVDC converters market size will surpass a valuation of US$13 billion by 2025. Described below are some of the most influential trends propelling the adoption of HVDC converters in the future.

· Upgradation of existing power infrastructure

In order to ensure reliable access to electricity, governments and regulatory bodies are making efforts to minimize energy losses across the transmission and distribution system by upgrading the aging energy infrastructure. In addition, they are focusing on the development of regional and cross border electrical infrastructure to achieve energy efficiency goals.

In 2015, the European Commission had set a goal to achieve a minimum interconnection of 15% overall generation capacity by 2030. In developed regions, ongoing investments towards upgradation and refurbishment of existing electrical infrastructure will augment HVDC converter industry outlook.

· LLC HVDC converters to gain prominence

HVDC converters can be broadly classified into LCC, VSC, and others. LCC HVDC converters are anticipated to witness notable demand in the near future. These converters have the ability to large amount of power over long distance along with extensive overload and black start capabilities.

In terms of the voltage, <500 kV HVDC converter segment was estimated to be worth more than US$1 billion in 2018. This can be attributed to growing interconnection of power grid and favorable measures towards the integration of renewable technologies. Citing an instance, in November 2017, regulatory bodies of France and Ireland had announced investments worth US$1 billion in the development of HVDC interconnection link.

· Ongoing rural electrification efforts in China

North American countries including the U.S. and China have invested substantially towards the reinforcement of its electrical infrastructure. The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) reports that Canada will need to spend close to US$350 billion for the modernization of its grid infrastructure between 2017 and 2037.

Meanwhile in emerging markets such as China, ongoing focus towards development of long-distance transmission networks will bolster the regional outlook. In March 2018, China had invested US$6.4 billion in the modernization of rural grid infrastructure across 26 western and central regions.

Stringent energy efficiency norms and supportive policies and initiatives by the government will foster upcoming trends in HVDC systems. HVDC converter manufacturers are constantly innovating in order to launch HVDC solutions that comply with latest industry standards. Additionally, growing focus on renewables deployment will unlock lucrative opportunities for HVDC converter industry.

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