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While planning any transmission system, following

High Voltage Direct Current

aspects need to be paid attention:
Environmental advantages
HVDC Transmission System
- Economical (Cheapest solution)
+ 500 kV , 1500 MW
Chandrapur-Padghe HVDC Bipole Project
- Asynchronous inter connection
- Power flow control

- Added benefits to the transmission

(stability, reliability, power quality etc.)



Historical Perspective Of HVDC Transmission

 It has been widely documented in the history of

electricity industry.

 That the first commercial electricity generated by

Thomas Alva Edison was Direct Current (DC)
electrical power.

 First electricity transmission system was Direct

Current System.

 DC Power at low voltage could not be transmitted

over long distances.

 This has given rise to high voltage Alternating

Current (AC) electrical system.

 With the development of high voltage valves, it

was possible to once again transmit DC power
at high voltage and over long distances giving
rise to HVDC transmission system.


Maharashtra State Electricity Board

Chandrapur-Padghe HVDC Bipole Project

Maharashtra State Electricity Board

Chandrapur-Padghe HVDC Bipole Project
Technical Advantages of HVDC Transmission

 HVDC system basically consists of two converter stations

(terminal station), which are connected by a overload line or a
cable. In some cases, a back to back arrangement is
employed in which length of line is zero.

Advantages :

 Long Transmission Distance:

In steady state operation only resistance of line and equivalent

resistance of two converter stations are effective in DC circuit
and hence no reactive power problem occur in the line or cable.
Since DC circuit de-couples two AC system, no problem of
steady state and transient stability are faced.

 Coupling AC system operating at different frequencies:

When two AC systems are de-coupled by DC link, there is no

inter-dependency of frequencies of two systems. HVDC can
therefore be used to couple systems of different rated
frequencies or systems that cannot be linked by AC system.

 High Speed Control :

High speed changing of station voltages permits the power

transmission to be varied by HVDC system quickly. Rate of
change being limited by ' Time Constant ' of DC system. This
provides effective mean of protection (around 20 m.sec.) Fault
is sensed by protection. Current is then controlled to zero.
Then fault is cleared, transmission can be resumed immediately
to feed full capacity i.e. rapid re-closure or restart. Fault current
is limited to 2-3 times full rated current and hence contribution
to short current in the feeding the system is reached to
negligible values.

 Control of load flow in the AC system:

With the help of high speed control, any required transmission
power can be set and maintained constant independently of
frequency and voltage conditions in AC system.

Maharashtra State Electricity Board

Chandrapur-Padghe HVDC Bipole Project

Economical Advantages of HVDC System

 Long Distance transmission:

Even though station costs for HVDC transmission system are

higher than High Voltage AC, line costs are lower because :

- In HVDC it is only two conductor arrangement.

- Lighter and lower towers.

- Full utilisation of conductors since there is no "Reactive

Power" transmission and no "skin effect" is present.

 Right of way width:

- HVDC lines have much higher transmission capacity than

HVAC lines for the same right of way width.

- In areas where right of way are at premium or

environmental problems are too stringent in constructing
overhead lines, HVDC can increase transmission capacity
per right of way width.

 Cable Transmission:

- In HVDC, the number of cables per transmission system is


- DC cable can be utilised better because of absence of

reactive power.

- Dielectric losses can be neglected.

- DC cable system is cheaper than AC cable system.

- Roughly it is said, distance over 40 k.m. can in any case be

bridged with AC cables if it is possible to install intermediate
station for Reactive Power Compensation (RPC).
- In case of sub-marine cable, installation of RPC is not
possible. Thus HVDC is the only technical solution for long

Maharashtra State Electricity Board

Chandrapur-Padghe HVDC Bipole Project

 Interconnection of AC systems by HVDC :

- HVDC can interconnect AC systems operating at different

rated frequencies (i.e. 50 Hz and 60 Hz).

- In the systems operated at same frequency but employing

different methods of frequency control and operation, AC
link interconnection is not possible unless two systems are
fully coordinated.

 Integrating HVDC transmission into AC system :

- In development of AC systems, load flow problems are

often faced.

- These are solved by constructing additional lines and RPC


- HVDC is an alternative solution because of control

facilities provided and improves functioning of system.

- The economics of solution can be evaluated on the

background of large differences in generating cost
between Hydro, nuclear, thermal units etc. Further
diversity is daily or seasonal load pattern may justify an
interconnection between two different systems.

 Construction in phases / stages:

- HVDC system can be constructed in stages without

requiring any large amount of advance capital investment.

- Funds / capital available can be utilised in differed manner.

 Independent development of AC system:

- Interconnected system operation with AC not only calls for

common frequency control but also careful co-ordination in
planning and operation. This is not always possible
between utilities in different countries.

- HVDC permits completely independent development of

AC system, while still allowing advantages of
interconnected system operation to be fully utilised.

Maharashtra State Electricity Board

Chandrapur-Padghe HVDC Bipole Project

 Limiting the short circuit power in AC system :

- As AC system grows, system short circuit power also

increases. When it exceeds design limits of
equipment either system is to be divided or equipment
have to be replaced and system up-rated.

- HVDC permits additional power to be fed in without

increasing the system short circuit power. DC line
fault currents are limited to 2 PU or so.

 Lower Losses :

- No reactive power is transmitted in HVDC. Thus

losses are lower. Losses in terminal station are nearly
1 - 1.5 % of transmitted power.

 Reliability :

- In case of fault on one Pole (+ or -ve) of the DC

system, earth return can be used to carry current of
healthy pole.

- 50% or in excess of 50% rated power can be still


- Operation at reduced voltage is also possible incase

of insulation breakdown of line due to pollution caused
flashovers occurring at full system voltage.

 Re-configuration of AC lines to DC lines :

- Due to increasing difficulties in obtaining new or

additional right of way and expenses thereof, re-
configuration of existing AC lines to suit DC
transmission is possible on existing towers. A study
has revealed that a 400 kV line of 900-1000 k.m.
length suitable for 500 MW power transmission, when
reconfigured can transmit about 1100 MW. So the
cost of conversion can be offset against increased
transmission capacity.

Maharashtra State Electricity Board

Chandrapur-Padghe HVDC Bipole Project

Limitations of HVDC Transmission system

Besides the positive sides of HVDC system, it has

limitations too:

1. It is used for point to point transmission. It does not have

parallel lines, T-offs or mesh network. This is due to

- It does not have step up or step down transformers.

- No DC circuit breakers are developed so far.

2. It is advantageous for long distance bulk transmission only.

3. Cost of terminal station is high since several additional

equipment are required.

4. Control system is very complicated since operation of the

thyristor is continuous (firing thyristors).

5. Requires additional harmonic filters and shunt capacitors.

6. Requires elaborate cooling arrangement of thyristor to

dissipate heat generated.

Maharashtra State Electricity Board

Chandrapur-Padghe HVDC Bipole Project
Comparison of characteristics for System Inter Connection
Sr. Characteristic HVDC Link EHV-AC Link Criterion for
No. Preference

1. Power transfer ability High, practical limit. Lower, limited by power angle and X HVDC link for
higher power.

2. Control of power flow Fast, accurate, bi-directional. Slow, difficult. HVDC preferred

3. Frequency disturbance Reduced Transferred from one AC system to HVDC preferred


4. System support Excellent, power flow through line quickly Poor. Oscillations continue for long HVDC preferred.
modulated for damping oscillation. duration.

5. Transient performance Excellent Poor HVDC preferred

6. Fault levels Remain unchanged after interconnection. Get added after inter-connection. HVDC preferred

7. Power swings Damped quickly. Continue for long time HVDC preferred.

8. Submarine cable No charging currents, high ratings Charging current set a limit on HVDC preferred
possible length and power.

9. Interconnection Asynchronous Synchronous HVDC preferred

10. Cascade tripping of AC systems Avoided Likely HVDC preferred

11. Frequency conversion Possible Not possible HVDC preferred

(50 Hz to 60 Hz)
12. Back to back conversion stations Possible Not possible HVDC preferred

13. Spinning reserves of AC network Reduced Not much reduced HVDC preferred

14. Transient stability limit Very high, upto thermal limit of Less than half of thermal limit of line HVDC preferred
equipment. conductor.

Comparison of long distance overhead transmission system

Sr. Characteristic HVDC Link EHV-AC Link Criterion for Preference
1. Capital cost - Line cost lower. - Line cost higher. HVDC lines becomes
- Substation cost higher - Substation cost lower. economical above 800 MW
- Number of circuit one. - Number of circuits more, conductors choice based on economics.
- Intermediate substation not more.
required. - Intermediate substation required.
2. Power Transfer No limit due to power angle. Limit imposed by power angle and Single HVDC link adequate
inductance XL. upto 3000 MW.
3. Voltage control Easier as reactance is not effective. - Difficult for long lines due to shunt For very long lines, single
capacitance and series reactance. HVDC links without
- Compensation of lines is necessary. intermediate substation.
4. Stability limit - No limit imposed by line - Limit imposed by power angle and HVDC line can be loaded up to
reactance on power angle. reactance XL. the thermal limit of equipments.
- Power can be quickly - Power flow cannot be easily controlled.
5. Corona and radio - DC voltage does not have 2 - AC voltage has factor 2 for r.m.s. to
interference. factor for r.m.s. to peak. peak.
- Corona losses and Radio
interference less for same
conductor to ground rated
6. Skin effect - Absent - Present
7. Earth return - Possible - Not possible
8. Reliability and - One bipolar line sufficient - Two AC circuits necessary.
9. Line losses - Low - Higher HVDC station has substation
10. Control system - Difficult, costly - Simpler, cheaper. AC preferable.

Maharashtra State Electricity Board

Chandrapur-Padghe HVDC Bipole Project
Modes of Transmission
Sr. No. Mode of Transmission Configuration Remarks

1. Bipolar System - Two poles, one positive with respect to - Normal mode of operation : Bipolar, with
earth and other negative power flow through line conductors and
neglible current through earth.
- Pole includes substation pole and
transmission line pole - During fault on a pole the mode is
changed to Monopolar with reduced
- The midpoint of convector in each power flow through one pole and return
terminal is earthed via an electrode earth.
line and an earth electrode.
- Bipolar system preferred for all high power
- Earth electrodes located about 5 to 50 HVDC systems including back-to-back
km away from terminals. systems.

2. Monopolar System - On pole and return earth. - Power rating almost half of the rating of
bipolar system.
- Earthing of poles via electrode line
and earth electrode - used for HVDC submarine cabies.

- Earth electrode located away from - Recent HVDC projects are all bipolar and
terminal substation. earlier monopolar systems are being
extended to bipolar.
- The pole is normally negative with
respect ot earth.

3. Homopolar System - Two poles of same polarity and return - This system was used earlier for
earth. combination of cable and overhead
transmission. Two overhead HVDC Lines
of same polarity were connected between
terminal substation and HVDC cable

4. Back-to-back HVDC coupling - Usually Bipolar without return earth. - Provides a synchronous tie between two
system independently controlled AC Networks.
- Reference earth provided for
protection, controls, and - Improves system stability.
- Power transfer can be in either direction
- Converter and inverter located in the depending upon control characteristics.
same sub-station.
- Power exchange can be rapidly varied.
- No HVDC transmission line.
- Very popular method of interconnection
- Two AC systems linked by a single between adjacent AC Networks.
HVDC Back-to-back coupling station.

5. Multi-terminal HVDC System - Three or more terminal substations. - Recently introduced.

- Bipolar - Provides interconnection between the

three or more AC Networks.

- Exchange between AC Networks can be

controlled accurately, rapidly.

- System stability of AC Networks can be


- Converter can be operated as rectifier ®

or inverter (I) by changing delay angle  .
Essential component of HVDC System

- AC network

- AC switch yard

- Converter Station at each end

 Rectifier at one end *

 Inverter at other end *

- Smoothing Reactor at each station *
- Interconnecting DC line *

- DC switch yard *

- Electrode Line at each terminal station. *

- Electrode Station for each terminal station. *

* Not present in Back to Back HVDC System.


What is a Converter ?

- Consider it as a black box with three AC connections (3

phases) and two DC connections.

- By controlling the firing of thyristors it is possible to control

output voltage between two limits - one positive and one
negative. DC voltage can be seen as made up of sections
of the AC line to line voltage on valve side of the converter
transformer. By delaying the firing of thyristors, the section
of the line voltage between DC terminal can be varied
thereby resulting in a new average DC voltage.

- The Direct Current (DC) can only pass through the black
box in one direction i.e. entering the anode and leaving the


Maharashtra State Electricity Board

Chandrapur-Padghe HVDC Bipole Project


 Conversion from AC to DC and vice-a-versa as required in

HVDC transmission system is accomplished by semi
conductor device called "Thyristor".

Advantages of Thyristor are :

- Reliable in operation - Failure rate is too low.

- Fast operating - Respond within micro-seconds.

- Powerful - handle large power.

- Compatible with environment since does not emit by

product such as smoke or exhaust etc.

- Maintenance free since operate without mechanically

moving parts and hence no wear and tear problem. Even
after heavy duty operation, retain all its positive


Maharashtra State Electricity Board

Chandrapur-Padghe HVDC Bipole Project

DC Smoothing Reactor

 Connected in series with each pole at each converter station. The

value is generally between 0.1 to 1 H.

Purpose of Reactor

 To decrease harmonic voltages and currents in DC line.

 To limit current in the bypass valves due to discharge of shunt

capacitance of DC line and terminal equipment in the event of
that all the bypass valves of one pole are fired simultaneously.

 To limit transient currents / crest currents in rectifier due to short

circuit on DC lines.

 To prevent consequent commutation failures in the inverters by

limiting the rate of increase of direct current during commutation
in one bridge when the direct voltage of the other bridge

 To decrease the incidences of commutation failures in the inverter

during dips in AC voltages or faults in AC system.

 To smooth out the DC current sufficiently to prevent the current

becoming discontinuous or almost so is at light loads.

The value of inductance is generally decided by first four



Maharashtra State Electricity Board

Chandrapur-Padghe HVDC Bipole Project

Electrode Line & Electrode Station

When HVDC system is operated in MONOPOLAR MODE

WITH EARTH RETURN, the Electrode Line and Electrode Station
comes in picture.

 Unlike AC System, Ground is used as Return Path in DC


 An Electrode is buried in the ground which either dissipates in

the current in the ground at one station or collects the
dissipated current from the ground at other station.

 In monopolar mode, it carries full current same as pole current.

 In Bipolar mode, it carries only difference of two pole currents

which is negligible.

 Earth Electrode Station is to be designed carefully since it is

one of the conductor for return path.


Maharashtra State Electricity Board

Chandrapur-Padghe HVDC Bipole Project

Transmission of electrical energy through HVDC by utilizing earth

or sea as return path is obviously economical. About 50% of
capacity cost on transmission lines can be saved if this
configuration is followed. Similarly, 50% of energy can be saved
because of low resistivity of earth return (of the order of 0.2 ohms).
Although this is economically attractive there are several problems
encountered in ground return mode of transmission, which have to
be looked upon while designing the ground electrode.
Summary of arrangement of earth return is presented in table below:

Type of Arrangement Earth current Earth current

HVDC of earth return magnitude Duration
Monopolar Permanent Full load direct Continuous.
earth return current through
Bipolar Earthing with Depends upon Depends
switching mode of upon mode of
arrangement operation. operation.
1. Bipolar Differential Continuous,
mode current, small small out of
value with balance
changing current only.
2. Monopolar Almost half bipolar Continuous
with earth power, fall DC during
current of one monopolar
return pole. mode.
3. Monopolar Earthed at one --
with metallic end for potential
reference only. No
return earth current.
Back to Back Earth on DC No earth current. --
loop potential
reference only.

Maharashtra State Electricity Board

Chandrapur-Padghe HVDC Bipole Project

Type and Location of Electrodes :

The ground electrodes in HVDC System are characterized by
their locations and are classified as below :

Type Place of use

i) Land electrode Located far away from sea.
ii) Shore electrode Located on shore near sea
water or in sea close to shore line.
iii) Sea electrode Located in sea at a distance from


Maharashtra State Electricity Board

Chandrapur-Padghe HVDC Bipole Project

Modes of operation

- Having understood what is meant by HVDC transmission system, let

us see modes of operation in more detail.

- A DC link can be operated in a number of operational modes as

below. Some operational modes can be utilised jointly.

 Monopolar Mode With Ground Return: In this mode, the electrode

line and electrode station at each converter station are used as
Return Path (Full DC current flow).

 Monopolar Metallic Return: Pole line of blocked pole is utilised as

Return Conductor with one ground electrode at one end generally
Rectifier isolated (No ground current).

 Balanced Bipolar Mode: Unbalanced current flowing through ground

is regulated to minimum value (about 10 Amp).

 Reduced DC Voltage: In case of deteriorated insulation condition of

DC line, the link is operating lower voltage than rated and power
transmission is also reduced (400 kV / 500 MW per pole).

 Reverse Power Operation: In this mode, normal power direction is

reversed and power is transmitted from Inverter Station to Rectifier
Station with reduction in quantum of power (1466 MW).

 Reactive Power Control Mode: By switching filter banks in and out,

either Reactive power exchange or AC system voltage is maintained
at set value within dead band set by operator.

 Islanded Operation: Major disturbance in AC systems sometimes

results in cascading. HVDC link maintains frequency and thereby
saving the system.
 Increased Reactive Power Consumption Mode: In order to control
AC system over voltage, reactive power consumption of the
converter is increased by increasing the firing angle. Thereby
reducing the voltage of associated AC system.

Maharashtra State Electricity Board

Chandrapur-Padghe HVDC Bipole Project
Components of a HVDC Converter Station

Broad Classification:

 AC Switch Yard

Mainly comprises of AC harmonic filters for filtering AC

harmonics and providing Reactive support required.

 Converter Transformers

Single phase unit having one primary (HV) star winding

connected to the AC system and two secondary windings (LV)
connected to thyristor bridge. One secondary winding is star
connected and other is Delta connected.

 Thyristor Birdge / Converter

 DC Smoothing Reactor

 DC Switch Yard

It comprises of DC harmonics filters required for filtering DC



Principle of Power Flow

 The DC power is controlled by adjusting the difference of voltage
between Rectifier (UdR) and Invertor (UdI) to attain the desired
magnitude of DC current.

Therefore, Id = UdR - UdI

R is the resistance of DC line which is constant.

Now, Pdc = Ud . Id where Ud is direct voltage.

UdR - UdI = Id.R

UdR & UdI are adjusted by means of

 Tap changer control which is a slow control

 Phase angle/delay angle  which is a fast control

Thus, PdC can be changed quickly by changing UdR - UdI

 In current conversion principle, with a large Smoothing Reactor on DC

side of converter, DC voltage has a definite ratio with AC side
voltage. This depends upon

 Tap position of converter transformer

 Delay angle (  ) of the thyristor converter control.

As seen above UdR - UdI = Id.R

Or UdR = UdI + IdR Where, UdI is controlled by Inverter Terminal.
Id is controlled by Rectifier Terminal.
Under normal control mode,
Inverter controls the voltage.
Rectifier controls the current.