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HVDC Transmission - Part 1 Technology

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John Benson's picture
Senior Consultant, Microgrid Labs

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE: Microgrid Labs, Inc. Advisor: 2014 to Present Developed product plans, conceptual and preliminary designs for projects, performed industry surveys and developed...

  • Member since 2013
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  • Feb 8, 2022

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In general, an HVDC line tends to be used for specific critical and/or long-distance applications whereas an HVAC line tends to be part of a large AC network composed of many synchronized AC lines that operate at various voltages.

Part 1 of this series will look at specific applications where HVDC Transmission excels, other applications that may not be as suitable, and the geographic area in the U.S. Grid where they have and will continue to be used extensively. Part 1 will also look at the technology used to implement an HVDC line.

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Feb 8, 2022

I was surprised to not see proposals regarding HVDC be more of a conversation in the Infrastructure Bill or BBB-- were you? 

Jim Stack's picture
Jim Stack on Feb 18, 2022

John,    This is good information. Many people don't know that there are DC long distance transmission lines. With the big Edison vs Tesla debates and world standards it needs to be told and explained so it will educate the public. The LA to Washington State DC lines have been running for years and are a great fit. It would be good to have some stats on how many lines are DC as compared the AC. Thanks.

John Benson's picture
John Benson on Feb 22, 2022

Hi Jim:

There are very few DC lines compared with AC lines. It is very easy to add, upgrade or otherwise modify an AC Line, but not so much for DC lines. There are several distinct niches for DC Lines. I try to provide these in part 1, and part 2 gives examples both of unique applications and the difficulties in deploying major DC Projects.

A new DC Line requires a new path, so the developer needs to be a pioneer. You know what they say about identifying pioneers by the arrows in their back. This is definitely true of major DC Transmission Line Project developers.


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Thank John for the Post!
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