Study: HVDC transmission market to grow 44 percent by 2015

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.

According to a recent report from Pike Research, one of the most important high-growth sectors within this market is High Voltage Direct Current transmission.

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.

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