Boulder, Colo., November 15, 2010 — Industry and government leaders are increasingly finding that, in order to reap the full benefits of renewable energy and smart grid technologies, the capacity and information-carrying ability of transmission systems much be expanded substantially.
The firm forecasts that annual global investment in HVDC will increase by 44 percent over the next five years, rising from $8.4 billion in 2010 to $12.1 billion in 2015.
“As grid operators work to boost transmission capacity over the next several years, HVDC will capture a much greater share of the total market,” said Pike Research president Clint Wheelock. “HVDC provides a favorable alternative to overhead alternating current transmission, requiring a smaller right-of-way and resulting in less line loss.” Wheelock adds that other applications for HVDC include underground and underwater cables; long-distance, point-to-point transmission; connection of asynchronous grids; back-to-back transmission; directional control of power flow; and renewable energy integration.
Pike Research’s analysis finds that much of the HVDC market growth is being driven by China, where it is the preferred technology for long-distance transmission.
Europe has also used HVDC for underwater cables, long-distance transmission lines, and renewable generation integration. In addition, individual country grids are interconnected through the use of back-to-back HVDC.
There are some HVDC installations in the U.S., including interconnections with Mexico and Canada. While it has traditionally only made up about 2 percent of the U.S. market, Pike Research forecasts that the use of HVDC will increase substantially in the coming years and will represent 8 percent of cumulative investment in the U.S. transmission market through 2020.