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PROMOTioN Press Releases

  • The successful development and testing of technologies for a meshed HVDC offshore wind transmission grid such as HVDC circuit breakers, HVDC gas insulated substations, HVDC system control, and HVDC system protection systems within the project is completed - technologies can be commercially marketed immediately
  • Focus: a full-scale pilot project at sea along with the initiation of the development of common system operation guidelines and grid codes for standardisation of technologies are now absolutely necessary to respectively enable and demonstrate the benefits of multi-terminal HVDC networks
  • Politics must push the development of the required technical, regulatory, and economic frameworks necessary for the organic step-by-step development of meshed offshore HVDC networks
  • Pragmatic regional collaboration and coordination must be initiated at all stakeholder levels to implement PROMOTioN recommendations to create a level regulatory playing field including agreements on technical compatibility, asset classification, governance, market models, planning and permitting systems, support schemes, decommissioning, and conflict resolution

Berlin/Arnhem, 21 September 2020. The EU-funded Horizon2020 project ‘Progress on Meshed HVDC Offshore Transmission Networks’ (PROMOTioN) presented its research results at a final online conference today. The event, titled ‘North Sea Grid for the European Green Deal: How to unlock Europe's Offshore Wind potential - a deployment plan for a meshed HVDC grid’, marks the culmination of over four years of practice-oriented research and full-scale technology demonstrations on integrated offshore HVDC transmission grids by 34 international project partners who represent the whole industry value chain.

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A full-scale prototype of the ABB hybrid HVDC circuit breaker was successfully tested on the 27th of February 2020 in the independent KEMA Laboratories as part of the PROMOTioN HVDC technology demonstration programme. The EU funded PROMOTioN project aims to tackle technical, regulatory, financial and legal challenges to the implementation of meshed HVDC offshore transmission networks.

HVDC circuit breakers are key components to enable the smooth continuous operation of HVDC grids in case of grid faults. This enables the development of multi-terminal HVDC grids to reliably and efficiently export large-scale offshore wind energy to the North Sea countries and furthers European integration by facilitating a common energy market. Within the framework of the Green Deal planned by the European Commission, an offshore wind capacity up to 450 GW by 2050 is seen as necessary to achieve climate neutrality. To this end, such integrated and cross-border offshore HVDC grid connections must be created. Thus far, the application of HVDC circuit breakers has been limited, with only partial verification by testing and little operational experience.

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Arnhem/Berlin, 6 July 2020. The EU-funded Horizon2020 project ‘Progress on Meshed HVDC Offshore Transmission Networks’ (PROMOTioN) will present its research & demonstration results and recommendations at a final online event on 21st September, 2020. The event, titled “North Sea Grid for the European Green Deal: How to unlock Europe's Offshore Wind potential - a deployment plan for a meshed HVDC grid”, marks the culmination of over four years of intense practice-oriented research on planning offshore wind projects and meshed transmission grids. The event was originally scheduled for May 2020 in Brussels but, due to the COVID-19 crisis, will now take place as a fully digital conference.

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For more information on the tentative schedule and registration for the 21st September event please refer to our calendar entry.

Countries around the North Sea need to implement a harmonized regulatory and economic framework to fully exploit the potential of a meshed offshore grid in the North Sea. This is a key conclusion of the EU-funded research project PROMOTioN (Progress on Offshore Meshed HVDC Transmission Networks).

Tim Meyerjürgens, COO at TenneT, stresses: “The development of a cross-border HVDC grid is one of the most promising opportunities for a sustainable energy future in Europe. TenneT is cooperating closely with other TSOs to develop the idea of a meshed and efficient offshore grid in the North Sea, which requires the creation of a common regulatory framework. PROMOTioN's research shows the way to make this happen.”

Similarly Ditlev Engel, CEO of DNV GL Energy, states: “The development of a reliable transnational European offshore transmission grid is a key enabler for a successful, cost effective and timely energy transition. This project delivered a great framework with regulatory and financial guidelines for national governments to speed up collaboration on the joint development of energy infrastructure such as offshore transmission grids. And that is really needed to accommodate the rise of renewables and meet our goals in the Paris Agreement.”

PROMOTioN’s latest report, “D7.9 Regulatory and financing principles for a meshed HVDC offshore grid”, summarizes the key findings on the design of a legal, regulatory and financing framework for cross-border HVDC offshore connections and provides recommendations for policy makers and other stakeholders to take appropriate measures to enable the first hybrid assets to be built.

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One of the challenges for developing the DC multi-terminal grids of the future, is how to protect the system in the event of a fault, so that only the faulty components are isolated rather than having to isolate the whole DC grid. Such protection requires intelligent electronic devices to monitor the grid and quickly detect and identify faults.

As part of the PROMOTioN Project two such devices have been developed and demonstrated at The National HVDC Centre how these devices will work in practice (within a simulated environment).

On 22nd August 2019, The National HVDC Centre in Great Britain was pleased to lead the demonstration of how multi-terminal HVDC Grids can be protected. The event successfully brought together project  partners from the PROMOTioN project with the purpose of demonstrating HVDC protection implementation. This was done by using real-time simulation to test protection hardware integrated within a simulated model of an HVDC Grid; combined with direct current circuit breaker (DCCB) real-time simulation models. The protection hardware used were two intelligent electronic devices (IEDs): one was developed in PROMOTioN Work Package 4; and the other provided by Mitsubishi Electric Europe, which is developed by its parent company Mitsubishi Electric Corporation.

Beyond this event further testing will be undertaken to assess the performance of the protection  system and to investigate the interoperability of the different components. This will culminate in a public demonstration event next year (at The National HVDC Centre).

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Another milestone reached in the PROMOTioN (Progress on Meshed HVDC Offshore Transmission Networks) project. ABB has successfully completed the installation of the 320 kV HVDC gas insulated switchgear (GIS) test equipment in the DNV GL’s KEMA High Voltage DC Laboratory in Kleefse Waard, Arnhem, Netherlands. 

Later this year long term testing will commence to demonstrate that this technology is ready for real world application and achieve cost savings in future offshore HVDC converter stations and switchyards. 

The benefit of using this technology over the conventional air insulated technology is the 90% reduction in volume, realizing cost-savings in applications where space comes at a premium such as offshore or in urban environments. This is the first time that such equipment is tested in an independent commercial laboratory. 

Also as part of PROMOTioN, Super Grid Institute (France) investigates the performance of different environmentally friendly insulating gases, and the Technical University of Delft (Netherlands) is developing a monitoring and diagnostics system for this technology.

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From the 11th to the 14th of June, SCiBreak AB tested a DC circuit breaker module prototype at the KEMA laboratories of DNV GL in Arnhem, as part of the EU project PROMOTioN. A fault current of 10.8 kA was delivered by low-frequency short circuit generators and was interrupted against a transient interruption voltage exceeding 40 kV.

SCiBreak is a project partner of the PROMOTioN project. The project seeks to address challenges to the development of meshed HVDC offshore transmission grids on the basis of cost-effective and reliable technological innovation in combination with a sound political, financial and legal regulatory framework.

The current tests by SCiBreak verify the functioning of a novel technology concept and constitute a major milestone for the project. Testing in the project has previously been done with equipment from Mitsubishi Electric. Testing breakers from different manufacturers supports the project objectives in several ways. Models of the breakers can be created so that analysis of multivendor operation in HVDC grids becomes possible. Furthermore, standardized test methods and test circuits are being developed.

The fault current was interrupted, and the corresponding energy of 0.6 MJ (MegaJoule) was dissipated in surge arresters included in the module. An artificial zero-crossing was created in the vacuum interrupter by an oscillating current excited by a power electronic converter. An ultra-fast Thomson coil actuator created the necessary contact separation less than 3.5 milliseconds after the trip order was received by the DCCB module.

The tests were part of the work package 10 which has a special focus on the interaction between the HVDC circuit breaker (and other identified related critical components) and its electrical environment regarding steady state DC current, rate-of-rise of fault current, current interruption, fault current commutation, counter voltage generation and energy absorption.

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On 28 September 2017, an AC short-circuit generator based high power test environment for HVDC circuit breakers was successfully demonstrated. It is the first time that such a test has been conducted in an independent accredited laboratory. Tests at DNV GL’s KEMA Laboratories showed that AC short-circuit generators operated at a reduced frequency below 50 Hz, can be used to safely and directly apply the current and energy stresses that can occur in HVDC circuit breaker units during the interruption of DC fault current. This successful demonstration is a major step in the development of test methods and circuits for HVDC circuit breakers, enabling independent verification of their performance and thereby increasing their technology readiness level...

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On 11.09.2017, SCiBreak became the 35th project partner of the PROMOTioN consortium. SCiBreak is a Swedish company founded in 2014 to commercialise new technology for interrupting electric current.
The aim of PROMOTioN is to develop and demonstrate three key technologies which are Diode Rectifier offshore converters, an HVDC (High-voltage direct current) grid protection system and existing HVDC circuit breaker prototypes. Furthermore a regulatory and financial framework will be developed, including an offshore grid deployment plan for the future offshore grid system in Europe...

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The EU project PROMOTioN launched today a new website – www.promotion-offshore.net.
“We want to strengthen the public visibility of the project and highlight the advantages of meshed HVDC offshore grids in Europe”, said Paul Raats, from project coordinator DNV GL. “A simple and well-structured website allows good access to the core themes, tasks and events of the project”, said Andreas Wagner, Managing director of German Offshore Wind Energy Foundation. The Foundation is responsible for the public relation activities of the PROMOTioN project and has developed the website and the corporate identity...

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A meshed offshore transmission grid connecting offshore wind farms to land could provide significant financial, technical and environmental benefits to the European electricity market. Launched this January, the project ‘PROgress on Meshed HVDC Offshore Transmission Networks’ (PROMOTioN) aims to investigate these benefits during the next four years. Currently it is the biggest energy project in the EU’s Horizon 2020 Research Program...

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