Pan European Networks - Horizon 2020 - page 134

and fuel our vehicles using low carbon
electricity rather than gas or oil. Heating and
transport represent a significant proportion of
the country’s energy use, and so running them
from renewably sourced electricity will
contribute to significant reductions in both
carbon emissions and reliance on fuel imports.
In addition, our onshore grids are ageing and
their upgrade and reinforcement are all the
more important given that we hope to generate
an increasing amount of our electrical power
from renewable sources such as wind and
solar. The grid of the future needs to be able
to cope with power that is generated further
away, that is out at sea, and which may be
generated intermittently.
Direct development
The development of direct current (DC)
transmission of electrical power is gaining
momentum, largely due to modern power
conversion technology (voltage source
converter) and the need for transmission of
offshore wind power. Plans to use DC
technologies for the interconnection of multiple
renewable power sources, loads and alternating
current (AC) grids underpin an interesting and
promising transmission concept: HVDC (high
voltage direct current) grids.
The Multi-Terminal DC Grid for offshore wind
(MEDOW) project is funded by the Seventh
Framework Programme, the predecessor to
Horizon 2020. MEDOW project researchers are
investigating DC grids for transmitting offshore
wind power: DC is more efficient than AC
transmission as less of the power gets lost
along the way. We hope to develop a grid,
rather than rely on single point-to-point
connections, as grids are the best way to
balance supply and demand of electrical power
and to ensure reliability of the system when
something goes wrong.
Researchers in the MEDOW consortium are
working on the technologies that we hope will
C
reating future energy systems that are sustainable, secure and
affordable is a priority for governments and people across the
world. The large scale integration of renewable energy sources
is widely considered an essential element of this transition. Wind power
is well established in Europe and is a source of clean, renewable
electricity. We need to make more of it in order to become less reliant
on expensive imported fossil fuels. In 2012, over half the energy the EU
consumed was imported from outside the Union. Statistics from the
European Wind Energy Association state that, by the end of 2013, there
was 117.3GW of installed wind energy capacity in the EU – 110.7GW
onshore and 6.6GW offshore. The wind power capacity installed by the
end of 2013 would, in a normal wind year, produce 257TWh of electricity,
enough to cover 8% of the EU’s electricity consumption, up from 7% the
year before.
At sea
Offshore wind has the key advantages of higher wind speeds and the
turbines being less intrusive than if they were on land. However,
offshore wind power is generated a long way from where it ends up
being used, and there is a need to find more efficient ways of
connecting wind farms to the mainland and the national grid so that
electrical power can be transmitted over long distances to the places
where it ends up being used.
Increasing our use of wind power will also support the future
electrification of heating and transport; we will be able to heat our homes
I S S U E S I X
H O R I Z O N 2 0 2 0 P R O J E C T S : P O R TA L
134
S O C I E TA L C H A L L E N G E S : E N E R G Y
Energy supergrid
Writing for
Portal,
Cardiff University’s
Catherine Roderick
details the Multi-
Terminal DC Grid for Offshore Wind project, which will help create a green
European energy supergrid
Horns Rev wind farm in
Denmark: placing wind
turbines offshore offers
many advantages
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