War of the Currents

We have come a very long way since the end of the 19th century when the DC electricity systems of Thomas Edison (Direct Current) was beaten in the “War of Currents” by the AC systems of George Westinghouse (Alternating Current). Today, DC is back with a vengeance because the industry is looking at deploying new High Voltage DC technology (HVDC) for electricity highways.

At the international conference on innovation for secure and efficient transmission grids which was organised by CIGRE, the International Council on large electricity systems, in Brussels on 14 March, the message from manufacturers ABB, Alstom Grid, and Siemens has been delivered loud and clearly: the technology is ready, lets deploy it! However, the regulatory context in which this technology will be deployed is of key importance.

Vlerick professor and power grid expert Leonardo Meeus had some good news in his keynote speech for the technology experts present at the conference: “The HVDC grid projects seem to have what it takes to become a so-called ‘Project of Common Interest’. This implies that they can get a preferential regulatory treatment thanks to the brand new EU Regulation for Energy Infrastructure that has been adopted last year to speed up projects that are of strategic importance for Europe.

In his speech Leonardo further elaborated on the expected impact of this regulation on the electricity industry. He also discussed where we are with the implementation of a common Cost Benefit Analysis method and a Cross Border Cost Allocation approach for energy infrastructure projects.

Want to know more? Read Leonardo’s presentation.

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