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Report from the second Best Paths dissemination workshop

The BEST PATHS project has entered into the advanced phase of technology development that will allow the achievement of its final goal: demonstrating the capabilities of several critical network technologies required to increase the European transmission network capacity, and electricity system flexibility.

A pool of experts in the energy field gathered this October in Berlin to discuss and validate BEST PATHS mid-term progress and early achievements. The ambitious objective of BEST PATHS is being realised at five large scale demonstrations that constitute the technological core of the whole action. Spread across Europe these demonstrations aim to: upgrade and repower existing DC and AC lines, improve the High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) connections with renewable energy production sites, and develop new superconducting DC links, among others. While the five demonstrations have the same overarching objective - to allow the European electricity networks to continuously deliver high performance for grid users at affordable costs - the specific actions implemented in each of them are rather different and are being carried out in parallel, making BEST PATHS the largest demonstration project financed under the Seventh Framework Programme in the power grids area. Among the issues presented by the BEST PATHS consortium during the workshop were the preliminary results of the research on the interactions of the converters in the wind turbines and the HVDC substation. Tested in a laboratory environment using scaled models, this includes a 4-terminal DC grid with 60 kW MMC VSC prototypes and a Real Time Digital Simulator system to emulate the AC grid. Demonstration 2, on the other hand, is the first attempt to undertake systematic investigation into interoperability issues in multi-vendor VSC-HVDC systems. The activities already resulted in the first recommendations for TSOs, vendors, academia, and standardisation bodies on how to enhance interoperability in HVDC-VSC multi-vendor schemes. Another innovation presented at the event related to Demonstration 3, led by Terna. The collaboration with Nexans resulted in a prototype length of a HVDC XLPE Submarine Cable that will be used to revamp the grids of Sardinia, Corsica and mainland Italy. The cable was successfully tested for water penetration, up to a pressure of 100 Bars (equal to a depth of 1000m), with the result of minimising water penetration to 2.4m from a potential damage. The project team is also addressing the challenge of efficiently delivering energy over long distances. Given growing difficulties in rebuilding existing AC corridors, that usually lacks public acceptance, BEST PATHS is opting for repowering of existing ones and the development of lighter towers for transmission in remote areas that could not accommodate the traditional deployment. Innovation in the transmission of power is also investigated as a part of Demonstration 5, which focuses on 10 kA MgB2 superconductor. The event was enriched by a lively panel discussion that included members of other European projects in the same area, like e-Highway, MIGRATE, GARPUR and PROMOTIoN, and the contribution of WindEurope. Cooperation and synergies are indeed fundamental between the different areas of research: even more in the power sector, where the support of different stakeholders is needed to introduce the innovations to European society. Proceedings of these workshop, including an attendance list, can be found in a workshop summary report available here. Presentations from the workshop are public and available for download at this link:


smart grid, power, energy, energy transport, renewables


Germany, United Kingdom