If every high-voltage DC (HVDC) system that has been announced for commissioning between now and 2020 is built, the cumulative global investment would be a little over $217bn. However, according to a new report from Pike Research, a more plausible scenario will be $110-$120bn.

“The planned [HVDC] systems require massive amounts of capital, are subject to the whims of regulatory and national energy policies, and will certainly change depending on the course of energy prices, energy demand growth, and global economics – all of which are interrelated,” says vice president Bob Gohn.

“Combined with the uncertainties of the global economy, these factors indicate that there is likely to be a significant gap between the planned level of investment in HVDC systems and the build-outs that will actually happen.”

Virtually all construction of new HVDC systems is occurring in Europe, India, China and North America.

Growth in each of these regions is being driven by different forces.

While rapid economic growth and the drive to complete national electrification programmes are fueling HVDC systems in China and India, Europe will see large amounts of renewable generation, along with the interconnection of many national grids into a unified continent-wide system.

In North America, meanwhile, three-quarters of planned future investment in HVDC comes from “merchant” transmission companies, due to the balkanized regulatory framework of the region.

Pike Research’s High-Voltage Direct Current Transmission Systems report provides a comprehensive analysis of the global market opportunity for HVDC transmission systems.

An free copy of the report’s executive summary can be downloaded from here.

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