Advantages and disadvantages of HVDC Transmission

Advantages of HVDC Transmission:

The advantage of HVDC is the ability to transmit large amounts of power over long distances with lower capital costs and with lower losses than AC. Depending on voltage level and construction details, losses are quoted as about 3% per 1000 km. High Voltage Direct Current transmission allows use of energy sources remote from load centers.

In a number of applications, HVDC is more effective than AC transmission. Examples include:

Long undersea cables have a high capacitance. While this has minimal effect for DC transmission, the current required to charge and discharge the capacitance of the cable causes additional I2R power losses when the cable is carrying AC. In addition, AC power is lost to dielectric losses.

HVDC can carry more power per conductor, because for a given power rating the constant voltage in a DC line is lower than the peak voltage in an AC line. This voltage determines the insulation thickness and conductor spacing. This allows existing transmission line corridors to be used to carry more power into an area of high power consumption, which can lower costs.

Because HVDC allows power transmission between unsynchronized AC distribution systems, it can help increase system stability, by preventing cascading failures from propagating from one part of a wider power transmission grid to another. Changes in load that would cause portions of an AC network to become unsynchronized and separate would not similarly affect a DC link, and the power flow through the DC link would tend to stabilize the AC network. The magnitude and direction of power flow through a DC link can be directly commanded, and changed as needed to support the AC networks at either end of the DC link. This has caused many power system operators to contemplate wider use of HVDC technology for its stability benefits alone.

Disadvantages of High Voltage Direct Current Transmission Lines

The required static inverters are expensive and have limited overload capacity. At smaller transmission distances the losses in the static inverters may be bigger than in an AC transmission line. The cost of the inverters may not be offset by reductions in line construction cost and lower line loss.

In contrast to AC systems, realizing multi-terminal systems is complex, as is expanding existing schemes to multi-terminal systems. Controlling power flow in a multi-terminal DC system requires good communication between all the terminals; power flow must be actively regulated by the control system instead of by the inherent properties of the transmission line.

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