Event Recap: PROMOTioN Event @ Offshore Wind Energy 2017 in London

On 7 June 2017, PROMOTioN organized the first stakeholder event this year. Alongside Offshore Wind Energy 2017 in London, attendees from industry, national regulatory bodies, investors, wind farm developers and academia received insights into preliminary project findings from different work packages.

In addition to the presentation of the “Draft Roadmap for meshed HVDC offshore grids” and many other legal and technical project results, representatives from the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and Ecofys outlined the ongoing need to increase policy efforts in order to maximize the overall benefits of offshore wind electricity production.


Sue Harrison, from the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), chair of Support Group 2 of the Northern Seas Energy Cooperation, set the scene with a keynote speech. She highlighted the importance of developing offshore grid infrastructure and welcomed the PROMOTioN project for helping to identify possible technology and regulatory solutions. Furthermore, she called for strong political backing in order to realize the grid infrastructure required, overcome regulatory hurdles, and thus reduce investor risks.

Izabela Kielichowska from Ecofys presented a White Paper on ‘North Sea Meshed Grids’. Based on this study, she emphasized the need for sufficient interconnection capacities in the North Sea, shaped by meshed grid solutions, in order to maximize the overall benefits of offshore wind electricity production. She also stressed the need for strong cooperation among member states, industry and regulatory bodies within all sectors. Long term targets, strong and transparent governance, coordinated support schemes, as well as standardisation and harmonized regulation would help to achieve the desired cost reduction potentials for offshore wind energy.

The session on preliminary results of the PROMOTioN project was opened by Pierre Henneaux from Tractebel. His presentation on the deliverable D1.6 “Draft Roadmap for meshed HVDC offshore grids” (WP1) included a draft offshore grid development roadmap for the decade from 2020 to 2030. The resulting coordinated topology and the corresponding costs were compared with an exclusively radial solution, based on a variety of technical, regulatory and economic assumptions. Pierre Henneaux concluded by indicating the necessity for further studies and inclusion of additional  aspects over the course of the PROMOTioN project and their inclusion in the final deployment plan which is due by 2019 in WP12.

Ceciel Nieuwenhout, PhD candidate at Groningen Centre for Energy Law, presented the current state of research regarding the legal barriers for meshed offshore HVDC grids that must be overcome in order to develop the required grid infrastructure (WP7). In addition to barriers on national level, she also identified barriers on the EU and international levels. The complexity of this issue was subject to further discussions with the event delegates, discussing their perception of legal barriers in daily life. Particularly, the legal classification of cables, i.e. whether it is an export cable or an interconnector, was intensively discussed, as this has profound legal implications regarding for instance the ownership and operation of cables. Therefore, it is open for debate whether existing classifications should be harmonized or new ones established.

Another presentation by Dirk Van Hertem from KU Leuven, provided insight into current research on the protection of DC grids (WP4). Introducing the basic differences between DC and AC grids and their respective characteristics, Dirk Van Hertem explained the functional requirements for a DC protection system and the approach of a risk based protection system design as well as the proposed fault clearing strategies that are currently being investigated.

Dr. Cornelis Plet from project coordinator DNV GL followed with a presentation on the operating principle of HVDC circuit breakers, and the related test requirements (WP5). According to current project findings, DC circuit breaker tests will likely consist of operational, interrupting, and endurance tests of the breaker unit itself, dielectric tests on each type of the support structures and across terminals, as well as functional tests of the overall control and protection system. As a major demonstration element of the PROMOTioN project, a full-scale DC circuit breaker unit is currently being shipped from Mitsubishi in Japan to KEMA laboratories in the Netherlands, to conduct full-power tests.