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HVDC Investment to Skyrocket Over Next Five Years

Dec 6, 2010 - Refocus.net

Investment in the high-voltage direct-current (HVDC) transmission market will increase by 44% over the next five years, rising from $8.4 billion in 2010 to $12.1 billion in 2015, according to a new study from Pike Research.

The report, "Electricity Transmission Infrastructure," analyzes the global transmission market and provides forecasts for transmission expenditures in each region through 2020. The report also includes market segmentation information by transmission technology category for the U.S., China and Europe. Pike Research's analysis of the U.S. market examines regulatory issues, federal transmission planning and cost-allocation approaches. The report also includes profiles of key industry players and utility and merchant transmission project business models.

The analysis finds that much of the HVDC market growth is being driven by China, where it is the preferred technology for long-distance transmission. Europe has also used HVDC for underwater cables, long-distance transmission lines and renewable energy integration. In addition, individual country grids are interconnected through the use of back-to-back HVDC. Although HVDC has traditionally only made up about 2% of the U.S. market, Pike Research forecasts that the use of HVDC will increase substantially in the coming years and will represent 8% of cumulative investment in the U.S. transmission market through 2020.

“HVDC provides a favorable alternative to overhead alternating current transmission, requiring a smaller right of way and resulting in less line loss,” Pike Research President Clint Wheelock says, adding that other applications for HVDC include underground and underwater cables; long-distance, point-to-point transmission; connection of asynchronous grids; back-to-back transmission; directional control of power flow; and renewable energy integration.