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A. Ike Mowete, Ph.D. MNSE, MIEEE and M. A. K. Adelabu, M. Sc. FNSE, MIEEE Department of Electrical and Electronics Engineering University of Lagos, Akoka, Lagos, Nigeria

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Historically, electrical power transmission and distribution initially utilized dc technology Ascendancy of ac technology for transmission and distribution due to ease of transformation of voltages from low to high and high to low, and ease of tapping off the line for use. Return to use of HVDC transmission line necessitated by the need to meet the demand of long distance bulk power transmission and asynchronous interconnection of otherwise incompatible networks. Use of HVDC has characteristic features such as controllable power flow, system stability and reliability and improved power quality.

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Ability to deliver cheaper energy to consumers Increasing the capacity of existing ac transmission networks

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1879 first electricity network using LVDC technology introduced by Thomas Edison. This was soon replaced with ac technology for h.aving unacceptable level of transmission losses. From 1901, development of mercury-vapour rectifier revived interest in dc transmission technology. Development of mercury-arc valves, thyratrons and static converters lead to significant breakthrough in the development of first commercial HVDC transmission system mono-polar scheme in Gotland Sweden. Observable advantages of the new HVDC system include:

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Itaipu (Brazil) system; interconnects and facilitates delivery of power between 50Hz and 60Hz systems. Used to transmit about 6300MW of hydropower over a distance of 800km. Leyte-Luzon project (Philippines) used to facilitate the supply of bulk geothermal power across the isles interconnected networks. Garabi; an ITP implemented facility to transfer bulk power from Argentina to Brazil. It transmits 5000MW of power from a 50Hz to 60Hz system. Gotland, Sweden recently (1999) installed a commercial project to transmit wind- generated power from a remote site to the city of Visby to improve the power quality.

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Other existing applications of the HVDC to date include:

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Current Source Converters (CSCs) Voltage Source Converters (VSCs)

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Requires conversion of ac dc at one end and dc ac at the other end. Made possible today through development of highly controllable silicon devices with high current-carrying capacities. Main converter types are;

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This is Natural Commutated Converter using series-connected thyritors to form thyristor valves, capable of operating at several hundred kV at either 50Hz or 60Hz.

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Fig. 1 Conventional HVDC Current Source Converters (Source: [2])

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VSCs utilize GTOs or IGBTs.

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Fig. 2 HVDC Transmission System using Voltage Source Converters (Source: [2])

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Converter Stations at both ends; provides the required ac-dc /dc-ac conversions Converter transformers; utilized to adapt ac voltages to required dc levels and also introduce commutation reactance. AC Filters DC Filters Smoothing reactors; to prevent intermittent current flow and limit fault current Transmission medium; overhead transmission lines on line and buried solid oil-filled submarine cables under sea bed.

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Fig. 3: Component parts of the typical HVDC Transmission System (Source: [8])

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A major issue when compared with the ac transmission technology. A factor which determines the economic viability of the system.

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Fig. 4 Cost structure of HVDC Implementation (Source: [5], [8]).

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Figure 5: HVDC Vs. HVAC Cost comparison (Source: [3], [8])

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Long Distance Bulk Power Transmission Interconnection of Asynchronous Networks Network Congestion Mitigation Deregulated Energy Markets Applications

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A fully deregulated electricity market is capable of throwing up several possibilities with players dictating the pace. Possibility of a decentralized grid and the need to interconnect various (non) synchronized networks. Guaranteed power quality

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Fig. 6; Map of the Nigerian Electricity Grid (Source: [10])

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We have in this presentation, given an overview of the High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) transmission system, starting with the systems evolution, and followed by brief descriptions of core technology, costs structure and representative applications. The discussions advanced reasons to suggest that in certain practical applications, HVDC transmission often proves a better technical and more economic alternative to HVAC, particularly when long distances and bulk power are involved, and if power flow control is a key consideration. Thereafter, the paper identified and described the characteristic features of the electric power sector in Nigeria, and based on these features and associated projections for the future, suggested that potential advantages are available for exploitation through the use of HVDC transmission systems for bulk power transmission over long distances, mitigation of AC network congestion situations, and deregulated energy markets. Although HVDC has the important drawbacks of high cost of tapping power along the line and the fact that in combined AC/DC transmission, disturbances on the DC side will occasion trips in the AC side [4], [5], it is nonetheless evident that HVDC technology has a huge potential for contributing immensely to various on-going and planned transmission expansion projects in the emerging era of energy market deregulation specified by the NEPSR.

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