Why DC not AC?

You already know from your engineering that higher voltages results to less operational losses for the same amount of power delivered. The bulk capacity of 3000MW has a great influence on the investment costs obviously, that determines the voltage level and the required number of parallel circuit. The need for higher voltage DC levels has become more feasible for bulk power projects (such as this one) especially when the transmission line is more than 1000 km long. So on the economics, investment for 800kV DC systems have been much lower since the 90's. Aside from reduction of overall project costs, HVDC transmission lines at higher voltage levels require lesser right-of-way. Since you will be also requiring less towers as will see below, then you will also reduce the duration of the project (at least on the line).

Why DC not AC? From a technical point of view, there are no special obstacles against higher DC voltages. Maintaining stable transmission could be difficult over long AC transmission lines. The thermal loading capability is usually not decisive for long AC transmission lines due to limitations in the reactive power consumption. The power transmission capacity of HVDC lines is mainly limited by the maximum allowable conductor temperature in normal operation. However, the converter station cost is expensive and will offset the gain in reduced cost of the transmission line. Thus a short line is cheaper with ac transmission, while a longer line is cheaper with DC.

One criterion to be considered is the insulation performance which is determined by the overvoltage levels, the air clearances, the environmental conditions and the selection of insulators. The requirements on the insulation performance affect mainly the investment costs for the towers. For the line insulation, air clearance requirements are more critical with EHVAC due to the nonlinear behavior of the switching overvoltage withstand. The air clearance requirement is a very important factor for the mechanical design of the tower. The mechanical load on the tower is considerably lower with HVDC due to less number of sub-conductors required to fulfill the corona noise limits. Corona rings will be always significantly smaller for DC than for AC due to the lack of capacitive voltage grading of DC insulators.

With EHVAC, the switching overvoltage level is the decisive parameter. Typical required air clearances at different system voltages for a range of switching overvoltage levels between 1.8 and 2.6 p.u. of the phase-to-ground peak voltage. With HVDC, the switching over voltages are lower, in the range 1.6 to 1.8 p.u., and the air clearance is often determined by the required lightning performance of the line.

Leave your comment (Registered user only)