The good news is, an accelerated and sustainable energy transition is driving demand globally for resilient grid technologies and renewable energy storage: for example, the EU wants to add 128 gigawatts of new interconnector capacity by 2040, high voltage grid capacity in China will double by 2050, and more than 35 percent of grid assets in the US will be replaced by 2040.
One of the key technologies driving the development of a strong transmission grid is high-voltage direct current (HVDC). HVDC allows for the efficient transmission of electricity over long distances with lower losses than traditional alternating current (AC) transmission lines. This technology has already been deployed in several large-scale projects around the world. For example, the Sunrise Wind project off the New York coast will be the first offshore wind project in the United States (U.S.) to use our Siemens Energy HVDC technology for their wind power transmission connection.
Interconnectors are another critical technology that can help to enable a sustainable energy transition, by sharing renewable energy resources across borders. For example, in our NeuConnect project, we will connect two of Europe’s largest energy markets, Germany and the UK, via a high-voltage line under the North Sea. This will enable enough power for 1.5 million households to be transferred between the two countries.
And, as the power grid moves to more decentralized power generation, such as renewables, additional technology is needed to balance load and manage fluctuations in the power frequency – such as with synchronous condensers. Australia was an early adopter of this technology: The South Australian grid operator ElectraNet has more than 50 percent renewable energies in its transmission grid. This poses a major challenge for grid stability, as the sun does not shine 24 hours and the wind doesn’t blow constantly either. To avoid the risk of blackout, ElectraNet has now equipped its Robertstown substation with two synchronous condensers with flywheels, which help to instantaneously bridge sudden frequency drops.