Supergrid published in 2016 an update of the Supergrid Technological Roadmap illustrating what technology is currently available, what is on the horizon and what common standards are needed.
Specific emphasis has been give to technology enhancements in 2012, the role of energy storage systems, AC and DC grid controls and how Supergrid will integrate into the power system of the future.
The Report concludes that the pace of development of “supergrid” technology has surpassed the estimate given in its 2012 Report, giving confidence that the first legs of Supergrid can be delivered within the decade.
The Supergrid is not just an extension of existing or planned point to point HVDC interconnectors between particular EU states. Supergrid will involve the creation of “SuperNodes” to collect, integrate and route energy sources to the best available markets.
• As a result of advances in HVDC technology, it is now technically possible to transmit electricity efficiently and cheaply from remote locations at sea or in the desert to the urban areas where most of us live and work.
• It is clear that a network incorporating a HVDC grid with the redundancy and reliability of current AC grids is now a reality and that the limits of what is technologically possible have been greatly expanded.
• FOSG has not identified any technology “show-stoppers” to the development of a European Supergrid.
• Voltage Source Converter (VSC)-HVDC Grids can leverage the fundamental benefits of existing VSC-HVDC links with the additional value of integrating those point-to-point connections into an electric network by sharing transmission capacity as well as creating a larger market for electric power.
• A grid design such as the Supergrid will reduce the total amount of equipment and capital cost and will need less planning and consenting works for onshore landings and associated substations compared to building multiple single links.
New control and protection techniques will be required to implement such a widespread HVDC grid. Two key technologies still under development, either at the research phase or at the prototype testing phase, are identified: fast acting DC circuit breakers and DC/DC converters.
The main issues facing the implementation grid are non-technical and legislative. The critical timeline for introduction of new technology lies primarily in the solution of non-technical issues that will create a strong market growth and technology push. An early solution of these hurdles will influence the future roadmap to a greater extent than may be foreseen, due to the extended time constraints in planning and construction of new transmission capacity.