The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Wind Energy Technologies Office (WETO) and Office of Electricity (OE) plan to fund research to drive innovation and reduce costs of high-voltage direct current (HVDC) voltage source converter (VSC) transmission systems. HVDC transmission systems are more efficient than traditional alternating current (AC) transmission systems for transmitting electricity over long distances while minimizing power losses. Many renewable resources are in remote locations on land, or planned far from shore (e.g. offshore wind), and HVDC transmission provides a cost-effective solution for renewable integration onto the grid.
HVDC transmission requires converters to switch the power from AC to DC and back again to connect to the grid. The optimum converter configuration is the VSC as it can turn itself on and off via control commands unlike other types of HVDC converters.
This investment is intended to enable future grid upgrades that will be needed to cost-effectively integrate an increasing amount of renewable energy generation on to the grid, both onshore and offshore. It is also the first action taken to support DOE’s HVDC COst REduction (CORE) Initiative, which aims to reduce the cost of HVDC systems by 35% by 2035 to promote widespread adoption of the technology. Cost-effective HVDC VSC transmission systems will enable and simplify interconnection of renewable resources onto the nation’s grid.
This future funding opportunity announcement (FOA) is anticipated to seek applications for innovative designs of HVDC VSC systems to reduce costs and promote adoption of the technology across the United States. Target areas for innovation under this future FOA may include increasing the power capacity of the converter, decreasing the size of the converter substation, and increasing the lifespan of the system.
These activities support a government-wide approach to addressing the climate crisis, including driving innovation that can accelerate deployment of clean energy technologies.
This FOA is expected to be released between late September and late November 2023.