The cost of an HVDC Light link now approaches the cost of an overhead line if all factors are taken into account.
In the evolving competitive power markets (for example in North America and Western Europe), the relative annual load growth is small to moderate. During the past few decades there has not been any significant investment in the transmission grid, but due to numerous blackouts in the past years, there is now an awareness that the transmission needs to be upgraded. But public opposition has in many cases been opposed to building new overhead transmission lines. This has led to lengthy and expensive approval processes with uncertain outcome for the utility.
The HVDC Light® transmission technology enables cost efficient transmission capacity expansion in existing bulk transmission networks in increments of between 50 and 1,100 MW per circuit. These transmission circuits can be installed underground, and can easily be located within existing right-of-ways of power lines, pipelines, railroads, etc.
The cost for an underground cable used to be about ten times the cost of an overhead line. But not any more! The cost of an HVDC Light® link now approaches the cost of an overhead line if all factors are taken into account. It is now possible to build a long electric power transmission underground and avoid public opposition and long uncertain approval processes!
Because the power flow in a HVDC link is continuously controlled to precisely match scheduled transactions, the complex reliability and inadvertent power flow issues that arise with the use of conventional high voltage AC transmission technologies are virtually nonexistent with HVDC Light®.