imageWith the available transmission technology today, the prospect of importing renewable electricity from remote and thinly settled regions is economically viable and technically feasible. High Voltage Direct Current transmissions have a high availability and reliability rate, as shown by over 50 years of operation. For large electricity transfers, High Voltage Direct Current technology (HVDC) enables very fast control of power flows which implies stability improvements not only for the HVDC link but also for the entire surrounding AC systems.

More than 130 GW of electric capacity are transmitted through High Voltage Direct Current transmission lines in over 140 projects worldwide. Their main purpose is to transfer hydro-power from remote sites to urban, industrial centers. In addition to large integrated wind projects in China (including the latest Changji-Guquan +1100 kV UHVDC of 12GW over 3200km), HVDC technology transfers power from the Itaipu project in South America, the Pacific Intertie, and Hydro-Québec dams. The latter feeds Canada's low-cost hydro-power to the North Eastern United States urban centers over a distance of three thousand kilometers (1900 miles). This distance would network the Sahara trade wind resources from Sub-Saharan Africa all the way to Europe's eastern borders.
 
The existing High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) technology enables large electricity transfers to limit cumulative line and AC-DC-AC converting losses, to less than 15% over a distance of 3500 km. The overall transfer costs per kilowatt/hour for such a long transmission line inclusive of the losses are lower than 2 €ct/kWh.

The integration of Atlantic trade winds within regional electricity transmission networks will facilitate their access. By reinforcing African grid networks, the Sahara Wind project’s 5 GW HVDC transmission line enables excess wind energy to be delivered to both Sub-Saharan and European electricity markets. This energy provides a market-based renewable energy alternative essential to support the region’s sustained economic development.
 
With a phased implementation and a threshold capacity of 400-500 MW submitted to international funding institutions in 2005, the Sahara Wind project initial phases is focused on building capacities through industrial synergies. Once deployed on a regional basis, the Project’s sheer size enables significant economies of scales to be achieved.
 
In supporting the diversification of its energy supply through a regionally integrated project development framework based on a more efficient transformation of mineral resources, climate and energy security prospects can be effectively addressed. As main beneficiaries of this renewable power infrastructure, Africa and Europe might be on the course of initiating a broader sustainable energy and resource revolution.
 
 
 
Features
Base informations Investment Costs
Performance class 5 GW  
Rated voltage +-500 kV  
Type Double bipol  
Converting station 2 * 60 €/kW 120 €/kWel. ratedpower
Line Distance 3500 km  
Aerial line 70 €/(kW * 1000 km) 245 €/kWel. ratedpower
Sea cable 700 €/(kW * 1000 km) 35 €/kWel. ratedpower
Total Investment Cost   400 €/kWel. ratedpower
Life time 25 years  
Operation & Maintenance Costs 1% of investment costs/yr  
Interest rate 5%  
Transmission losses (average) 7.5%  
Investment Costs of HVDC line from Sahara Desert through Europe

 

 

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