Examination of Power Systems Solutions Considering High Voltage Direct Current Transmission
Since the end of the Current Wars in the 19th Century, alternating current (AC) has dominated the production, transmission, and use of electrical energy. The chief reason for this dominance was (and continues to be) that AC offers a way minimize transmission losses yet transmit large power from generation to load. With the Digital Revolution and the entrance of most of the post-industrialized world into the Information Age, energy usage levels have increased due to the proliferation of electrical and electronic devices in nearly all sectors of life. A stable electrical grid has become synonymous with a stable nation-state and a healthy populace.
Large-scale blackouts around the world in the 20th and the early 21st Centuries highlighted the heavy reliance on power systems and because of that, governments and utilities have strived to improve reliability. Simultaneously occurring with the rise in energy usage is the mandate to cut the pollution by generation facilities and to mitigate the impact grid expansion has on environment as a whole. The traditional methods of transmission expansion are beginning to show their limits as utilities move generation facilities farther from load centers, which reduces geographic diversity, and the integration of nondispatchable, renewable energy sources upsets the current operating regime. A challenge faces engineers - how to expand generation, expand transmission capacity, and integrate renewable energy sources while maintaining maximum system efficiency and reliability.
A technology that may prove beneficial to the operation of power system is high voltage direct current transmission. The technology brings its own set of advantages and disadvantages, which are in many ways the complement of AC. It is important to update transmission planning processes to account for the new possibilities that HVDC offers. This thesis submits a discussion of high voltage direct current transmission technology itself and an examination of how HVDC can be considered in the planning process.