Reflecting on Jicable HVDC ’21
December 3, 2021
Authors: Rob Anderson & Carlos Galvan
Ann Burns and Scott Murray

​Jicable is an international conference promoting scientific and technical exchanges within the insulated power cables field. Jicable HVDC ‘21 symposium was a natural follow-up of Jicable HVDC ‘13 and Jicable HVDC ‘17 dedicated to High-Voltage Direct Current transmission systems for which insulated power cables are a key component.

Around 250 participants from approximately 30 countries attend the Jicable HVDC Symposiums every four years. This year the Jicable HVDC’21 Symposium was held as a hybrid event (in-person and virtual) running 8-10 November 2021 in Liege, Belgium.  This third edition included conferences, tutorials, technical visits and a poster session for young researchers.

The rise of HVDC

HVDC power links are growing in numbers and are now increasingly used for land or submarine applications, including connections to offshore wind farms. HVDC cable systems are becoming key components of sustainable energy systems to provide a large capacity of electricity transmission over long distances, across or between countries and for renewable energy delivery. Recent breakthrough innovations in HVDC extruded cable systems have shown rated voltages reaching the range 400 to 700 kV, power transmission up to 3 GW and suitability not only for Voltage Source Converter (VSC) types but also for Line-commutated Converters (LCC).

PSC’s perspective

It seemed fitting that Jicable HVDC ’21 was held simultaneously with COP26, given that HVDC cables enable the increased integration of renewable energy into power networks.  There is a pressing need to develop HVDC cable systems suitable for even greater voltages and power levels.  At the same time, the reliability and availability of HVDC cable systems are critical, with suitable testing standards and recommendations covering expected operating conditions being essential to ensure quality. Furthermore, the development of extruded insulated DC cables will complement the increasing capability of VSC technology as we develop projects which go beyond a transmission capacity of 2000MW.

At Jicable HVDC’ 21, it was inspiring to hear about how extruded insulation materials are being developed for use in HVDC cable systems.  Some innovations presented included extra-pure XLPE compounds, inorganic nanofillers and new thermoplastic extruded insulation (polyethylene). However, what was apparent is that for innovations to be successfully implemented in a cable system, all parties – from material manufacturers, cable manufacturers, converter manufacturers, consultants, test laboratories, universities, standardization committees, to end-users – must play a part.

Given the developments in extruded DC cable technology up to 525kV and beyond, it was welcome to hear the new CIGRE testing standards for electrical and mechanical stress testing have been issued, of which PSC’s Rose Urban was a member of CIGRE B1.62 who produced CIGRE TB 852.  In addition, there was the opportunity to hear about the recent project experience of extruded XLPE cables.  The work to replace existing land cables on the IFA2000 interconnector between the UK and France with XLPE extruded cables was of particular interest, given that this would not typically be carried out on LCC converter technology schemes.

Please contact us to find out how PSC can help you with your HVDC cable projects.