Should California Only Important Electricity Through HVDC Lines During the Rainy Season?

Should California Only Important Electricity Through HVDC Lines During the Rainy Season?

Should California Only Important Electricity Through HVDC Lines During the Rainy Season?

03/28/19

“Should California only import high voltage electricity from other states at certain times of the year?”

California has ambitious plans with renewable energy. Not only is it the leading market in the United States, but plans to completely decarbonize its energy grid by 2045! However, this may require importing wind energy from Wyoming and Hydropower from the Pacific Northwest. The most efficient way to do this is to use HVDC lines with low levels of resistive losses. However, with the advent of climate change, California is experiencing much more and longer periods of drought. This creates fertile conditions for fires, which can be easily triggered in the case of a power line fault. Given that HVDC lines are at such high voltages, a single slip from one can cause intensive damage. As a result, it might be wise for California to only import electricity during the rainy season. Doing this will increase resilience protection and help stabilize the grid during the less sunny winter days. Since wind and hydro resources are also more plentiful when it rains, it would be a great way for other states to offset their surpluses during this time. This might be unnecessary if advanced fault detection and diagnostic technologies are used, but only studies will be able to say for sure!

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