Best Paths project
The Best Paths project aims to overcome various technical barriers that the current pan-European electricity network could encounter to safely, efficiently and reliably integrate massive amounts of energy from renewable sources such as solar and offshore wind, satisfying demand competitively and reducing the levels of CO2 produced.
The project is developed around five different large-scale demonstration areas focused on working together to find complementary solutions to various existing technical constraints.
- HVDC in offshore windfarms and interconnections: This demonstration will analyse the interactions between the machine-side converters of offshore wind farms and the converter stations of the onshore HVDC networks in charge of the evacuation of their energy. This demo will study the impact on both the behaviour of wind turbines and the stability of the system in different situations or representative scenarios of future network topologies.
- HVDC-VSC Multiterminal Interoperability: This demonstration aims to accelerate interoperability in HVDC networks using VSC (voltage source converter) technology from different manufacturers as a necessary requirement for the deployment of a truly meshed HVDC network.
- Upgrading multi-terminal HVDC links using innovative components: In order to improve existing HVDC connections, in this demonstration an extensive research project is being carried out on the major components of an existing multi-terminal network to allow greater energy transmission capacity while maintaining the level of reliability.
- Innovative repowering of AC corridors (IROCK.EU): This demonstration focuses on the combined application of various technological solutions such as high temperature conductors, compact power towers and continuous power line monitoring, to significantly increase the transmission capacity of facilities in service, reducing the impact of the same on the environment.
- DC Superconducting cable: This demonstration will seek to demonstrate the feasibility of using superconducting materials for the manufacture of power cables capable of delivering up to 3.2 GW of electricity (equivalent to the joint production of 4 nuclear power stations) in restricted environments. This type of cable will increase the transmission capacity and at the same time provide benefits in terms of dimensions, cost, efficiency and environmental sustainability.
The Best Paths (‘BEyond State-of-the-art Technologies for rePowering AC corridors and multi-Terminal HVDC Systems’) project has a budget of 62.8 million euros, of which 35.5 million euros will be funded by the European Union. It is the largest European project of the Seventh Framework Programme for Research, Technological Development and Demonstration in the field of electricity grids.
Given that they have similar interests and needs, and that the TSOs do not compete with each other, collaboration in this type of projects provides great mutual benefits to all. For example, it enables technologies to be tested where they are most useful and which meet the right conditions. But, above all, it allows the costs and results to be shared, making it possible to substantially reduce the time to market of developed solutions.
As quantitative data of the leverage generated by Best Paths, REE o Red Eléctrica contributes €1.87m to the total budget contribution of €14m of all the TSOs (87% leverage); and it dedicates a total of 111 FTEs per month of the 539 FTEs per month of the TSOs as a whole (79% leverage), which divides by 4 the time necessary for the solution developed to be viable.
Red Eléctrica has a direct implication in the demonstration on interoperability of HVDC converters (IOP demo) and the development of a novel low cost sensor for the monitoring of transmission capacity (DLR sensor) in overhead linesWith regard to IOP demo, recent experiences in carrying out renovation actions for existing GIS substations, the opening up to competition and not being a captive customer from the initial manufacturer has allowed REE to save up to 20% on a recent award. This experience, allows to pinpoint the potential savings derived from IOP demo at 10-15% of the current cost for future converters. The executed budget of the converter stations of the HVDC link between Spain and France in service since the end of 2015 amounted to €360 million (€45 million of estimated potential savings). Regarding the DLR sensor, it will be around k€3/eq, which represents savings of 40% compared to the cheapest sensors currently on the market removing the main barrier for its deployment.
Regarding the DLR sensor, it will be around €3,000/eq, which represents savings of 40% compared to the cheapest sensors currently on the market removing the main barrier for their deployment. Once Best Paths has concluded, a congested electricity line will be monitored, with the aim of increasing its transmission capacity by 5-10%. The cost is estimated at €350k and it is estimated that this will save operation costs in the Spanish electricity system between €150k and €300k per year.
The project is completed. It started on October 1, 2014 and it finished on September, 2018.
In collaboration with:
Red Eléctrica acts in this project as a coordinator of a consortium of 39 partners, who are leaders in their respective fields, representing technology centers, industrial corporations, promoters and European TSOs from 11 different countries.