New HVDC Centre Opens in UK

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) has opened a new technology centre in Cumbernauld that will allow the simulation of real life conditions to test and de-risk the use of high voltage direct current (HVDC) on the electricity network in Great Britain.

The National HVDC Centre was officially opened by the Scottish Government’s minister for employability and training and the local MSP, Jamie Hepburn, on April 26, 2017.

The centre will play a role in the development of HVDC technology projects, such as the Caithness-Moray subsea transmission line which is currently in construction.

Caithness-Moray will introduce HVDC technology within SSEN’s transmission network in the north of Scotland for the first time and the opening of the HVDC Centre is an important step in the development of this technology, the company explained.

The facility will use computer simulators, which replicate the electricity network in real time, to allow engineers to study the impact the HVDC systems can have to identity and mitigate any risks in a safe test environment before the technology goes live on the network.

The new centre was funded through the energy regulator Ofgem’s Electricity Network Innovation Competition.

David Gardner, director of Transmission at SSEN said: “The use of HVDC technology is becoming more common, with at least four schemes due to connect to the GB network in the next few years. The complexity this will cause will be eased through the testing facility here in Cumbernauld as we can model the network to ensure we are ready for the adoption of the technology.”

The facility will also be used to train engineers on the complexities of HVDC systems and stimulate innovation within the industry.

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