Reducing blackout risk by segmenting the European power grid with HVDC lines

Gomila, D; Carreras, B.A.; Reynolds-Barredo, J.M.; Martínez-Barbeito, M.; Colet, P.; Gomis-Bellmunt, O.
Submitted (2024)

We analyze how segmenting the continental Europe power grid using high-voltage direct-current (HVDC) lines can
help in reducing the risk of cascading blackouts. During a blackout, the power flowing through these lines is controlled in
order to minimize the load shed. We segment first the power grid through the Pyrenees, separating the Iberian peninsula
from the rest of Europe and, second, dividing the network in approximately two halves, Eastern and Western Europe. In both cases the method is very efficient in reducing the size of blackouts involving both sides of the HVDC lines. Globally, this reduction translates in both cases in a decrease of the total blackout risk of approximately 30%, although it is slightly larger for the latter case. We estimate also the savings due to the risk reduction and the cost of converting the necessary conventional lines to HVDC. The results show that segmentation the European grid using HVDC could be economically viable, specially the case of segmenting the Iberian peninsula, as the risk reduction is similar but with a much reduced number of HVDC lines.

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