Pioneering transmission innovations
TX staff have long been at the frontier of innovation in offshore transmission. Offshore transmission now represents the majority of transmission investment, but remains a relatively immature technologically – a field of “low hanging fruit” for an innovation pioneer such as ourselves. Our staff also have experience of the detailed technical aspects of power electronic converters – an area that is becoming critically important: by 2025 we expect the majority of Britain’s electricity production/imports to pass through power electronic converters.
Examples of the innovative projects and concepts taken forward by TX staff include:
- Improving the rating of the cables associated with offshore wind projects by making use of thermal inertia and applying a statistical approach to weather conditions and levels of generation.
- Assessing how the control systems for the power electronic inverters used in wind, solar, battery storage and HVDC links can be improved in order to maximise system stability under conditions with very high levels of renewable penetration. This involves using tools such as PSCAD to simulate the operation of the grid and the converters attached to it at a very high level of detail.
- Developing the “supergrid” concept, which combines international interconnections and the connections of offshore renewables. TX staff undertook the first ever published economic analysis of the concept and have since been active in its development, notably for the FAB project where a regulatory model was developed and European Commission approval of the model was obtained.
- Introducing new approaches to HVDC converter design that have the potential to be more compact and have lower losses.
- Introducing new approaches to interconnector economic analysis (in co-operation with specialists in market analysis). These approaches are now widely applied.