Alstom Grid has released the findings of a €30m research programme on marine energy led by Iberdrola Engineering and Construction.
Carried out in collaboration with the University of Madrid, the R&D project was aimed at focusing on the sustainable use of marine energy resources, and to align priorities with key EU 2020 energy targets.
The findings of the Ocean Lider project have confirmed the technical, economic and environmental benefits of flexible alternating current transmission systems (FACTS) and high-voltage direct current (HVDC) to the operators.
Having practically applied on different offshore technologies (wind, wave and tidal), the four-year project studied the impact of off-shore power generators and their integration into the grid network through FACTS and HVDC solutions.
The project also assessed the grid codes of various countries for compliance with different generation technologies and electricity transmission systems, addressing the specific needs of marine energy generation and its integration.
As part of the research project, Alstom established the adequacy of FACTS and HVDC technologies in the context of marine energy generation for fast, flexible control of power delivered into the network.
The findings have concluded demonstrations of some feasible technologies, configurations and designs (redundancy levels, type and voltage level, types of compensation, dimensioning) for various applications.
An HVDC system could transmit electricity across long distances, up to five times more power than traditional alternating current (AC) systems.
To integrate offshore energy, AC electricity is converted into a direct current before it is transmitted into an onshore network, and then reconverted into AC and integrated into the traditional electrical system. Such a connection between the HVDC system and the existing AC grid is known as 'Supergrid'.
Image: An HVDC system is able to transmit large amounts of electricity over long distances. Photo: courtesy of Alstom.