As wind farms are remote and located far from the centers of demand, there is need for a new transmission network that can effectively transmit power with minimum losses. In 2010, the United States added approximately 5,115 megawatts of installed wind capacity, creating a huge market for high voltage transmission technologies.
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan (energy.frost.com), North American High Voltage Transmission Technologies Market, finds that the market earned revenues of $9.74 billion in 2010 and estimates this to increase to $15.9 billion in 2012.
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By 2010, the North American installed wind power capacity had grown by 15.1 percent, despite the economic slowdown. According to the United States Department of Energy's recent report, wind energy is expected to account for 20 percent of the country's energy mix by 2030, which will result in an investment of $60 billion in new wind power transmission projects.
"However, building new power lines can be hampered by interference from the local planning authorities, as well as low public acceptance of high voltage power lines in residential and environmentally sensitive areas," said Frost & Sullivan Senior Research Analyst Vignesh Sundaram. "In such a scenario, utilities are expected to turn to FACTS for higher power flow on existing power lines."
While FACTS' benefits are obvious, the slow returns on investments in transmission lines infrastructure will still deter investors. FACTS is a high-cost investment, with a static volt-ampere-reactive compensator (SVC) costing up to $20 million.
Efforts to lower initial costs of investment and conversion losses are expected to result in higher uptake of FACTS and HVDC technologies, especially since utilities are looking to achieve lifecycle cost savings through the implementation of high voltage transmission technologies.
"The HVDC could be highly cost-effective in transferring high voltage current over a long distance," said Sundaram. "With the recent development of power electronics such as insulated gate bipolar transistors (IGBT) and gate turn-off thyristors (GTO), the break-even distance for HVDC for overhead transmission lines is 700 km." The introduction of innovative technologies will further lower the break-even distance.
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North American High Voltage Transmission Technologies Market / N6EF