1 Million Volts DC

Those of you of a certain age will remember the pre-historic epic "1 Million Years BC" starring Raquel Welch and containing some of the worst special effects of all time. I couldn't resist echoing that title.

More correctly I should call it 1.1 Million Volts DC, because this is the power transmission voltage for the newly completed Chinese 3324 kilometer transmission line capable of carrying 12 GW.

20180608_China_HVDC-transmission-line_Completion_JTisdall

 

High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) has been around a long time, but technology improvements have helped increase its reliability and safety, and reduce its cost.

But, why should we care? Well HVDC is a gateway technology for allowing intercontinental supergrids to operate with more efficiency, as there are fewer electrical losses in transmission.

In our renewable future, if electricity is being generated by solar in say the Sahara desert, then that could be made available in Europe with minimal losses. Similarly, middle of the night wind generation in the UK, could be exported profitably to early morning Moscow. Another piece in the puzzle of de-carbonising our planet.

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