There are very ambitious plans in Europe for changing the energy infrastructure in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This involves scenarios where renewable energy sources by 2050 will meet almost 100% of the electric power demand. This has spurred offshore wind farm development activities in the North Sea due to the vast wind energy potential in this region and the potential lack of suitable onshore sites in the future. Large-scale wind farms in the North Sea pose grid integration challenges such as the need for long-distance subsea power transmission and tackling the impact of wind power variation on alternating current (ac) grids. These challenges can be properly managed by the use of meshed high-voltage direct current (HVDC) grids. Three of the regional groups (RGs) in the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E), namely Regional Group Great Britain (RG-GB), Regional Group Nordic (RG-N), and Regional Group Continental Europe (RG-CE), surround the North Sea area. A meshed North Sea HVDC interconnection between offshore wind farms and these three asynchronous ac grids can also enable market integration of the otherwise separate regions. This, in turn, results in better utilization of generation and transmission infrastructures, improved security of power supply, and maximized utilization of renewable energy resources. In this paper, a test scenario of a meshed North Sea HVDC grid is studied to demonstrate the potential of such a system for enhancing power supply security of the ac grids. Simulation studies of the test case show that with proper control techniques, a meshed North Sea HVDC grid can mitigate the effect of wind power variation by facilitating exchange of primary and secondary reserves between asynchronous ac grids.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.