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India has €2-b market potential for high-voltage transmission lines: Alstom

According to reports, India has a market potential of €2 billion for setting up high-voltage transmission lines by 2018, France-based Alstom believes.

“The HVDC (high-voltage direct current) market is estimated at €50 billion in the next 10 years and Alstom targets a 20 per cent market share,” the company said.

The multinational conglomerate, which is into power generation and transport, said Americas, China, India and Europe had the greatest potential in this sphere.

The biggest challenge for India is to ensure efficient transfer of bulk electricity over long distances, while maintaining the national electricity grid without any disturbance.

As of now, most of the electricity in India is generated in alternating current (AC) form. However, there are technical and commercial hiccups in ferrying AC over long distances. This is why AC is converted to direct current (DC) in converter stations and transmitted through the high-voltage network). Electricity is again converted to AC before supplying to consumers.

“It (HVDC) has a cost, but it stabilises the network and helps in preventing black-outs like India suffered last year,” Patrick Plas, Senior Vice-President (Power Electronics and Automation) at Alstom, told Business Line.

At present, the French company is engaged in setting up HVDC projects for the 800 KV-3,000 MW transmission lines between Champa and Kurukshetra.

“We have started discussions for phase-II of this project,” said Plas.

India is the second country after China to develop and implement 800 KV DC projects.

Alstom said it provides innovative HVDC technologies to meet the needs of mature and emerging markets. It has set up HVDC projects of nearly 30,000 MW across Sweden, India, Brazil and Germany, among others.

HVDC has emerged the key technology for inter-connecting regions and countries for electricity transfer, as it helps transmit more power with less infrastructure.

The network also helps in synchronising electricity generated from different sources. For example, electricity from renewable sources, such as wind or solar, is generated at a different voltage than from conventional sources. It is this varying voltage which creates disturbance in transmission networks.

HVDC also helps in connecting power plants to distant load dispatch centres and facilitates development of energy highways to transfer large amounts of power over long distances.

“HVDC improves quality, stability and reliability of electricity,” said Claes Scheibe, Vice-President (Power Electronics Applications) at Alstom.

Global energy demand is estimated to grow by over 30 per cent between now and 2035. As a result, grids need to adapt and integrate renewable energy sources in a sustainable way.

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