Transmission without limits

Jérôme Fournier Mar 10, 2022

Across the land and below the oceans, electricity transmission networks are a vital part of the energy transition

Transmission networks are responsible for the bulk transfer of electricity between sources of generation and sources of demand. Modern transmission systems are miracles of connectivity, linking regions, nations and remote generation assets – often over hundreds of kilometres.

Transmission trends

The transmission landscape is changing in several ways. First, there is a need to accommodate a forecast rise in electricity demand of more than 40% over the next 20 years. Transmission System Operators (TSOs) need new and upgraded HVAC infrastructure to achieve this.

Second, there is a growing requirement for high-capacity transmission with minimal losses. Offshore wind is a major driver – the latest wind farms are more than 100 km from the coast. There is also an increasing need for long-distance HVDC subsea interconnectors. These play a crucial role in ensuring the optimal functioning of energy markets.

Third – and in parallel with the above – there is a growing need for cross-border transmission between national energy systems. In Europe, investment in better connectivity between nations could save 110 TWh of curtailed energy a year and cut annual CO₂ emissions by 55 million tonnes by 2040.

Overarching all of this is the need for resilience. The increase of the high-voltage grid, the addition of new interconnection lines between countries and continents contributes to a better reliability and a greater flexibility of the grid.

As electricity becomes the primary power source for everything – including heating, transport and industry – the reliability of transmission infrastructure will become more important than ever.

How is Nexans helping?

Nexans provides a complete range of innovative transmission solutions and services to satisfy the evolving demands of the electricity industry while minimising the total cost of ownership. These include:

  • HVAC – Nexans has taken the transmission capacity of high-voltage AC cable systems to a new level. Following an internal R&D programme, our 420 kV XLPE AC cable system has now been successfully qualified up to 1 GW for a single-core link and 700 MW for a three-core link.
  • HVDC – high-voltage DC is the optimal solution for long-distance submarine transmission. Key applications include subsea interconnectors and export cables for offshore wind farms. To meet future demand for higher power ratings, Nexans has qualified its 600 kV MI cables with a power rating of 1,100 MW per cable, giving a power transmission capacity of 2,200 MW in bi-pole configuration.

All of our cable products are manufactured with environmental performance in mind, with minimal waste and maximum re-use of materials.

As well as manufacturing and supplying transmission cables, we support our customers with a complete range of services. Among these are:

  • Cable laying – our flagship cable laying vessel, CLV Nexans Aurora, is the most advanced in the world and it is dedicated to turning our customers’ most ambitious subsea cable projects into a reality.
  • Grid sensing – a complete condition monitoring solution from Nexans for rapid fault localisation. This allows our customers to maximise the availability of their grids and reduces cable failures by a factor of ten.
  • Grid security – Nexans VIGISHIELD is a permanent surveillance solution that allows customers to monitor cables, configure alarms, receive alerts and pinpoint the location of alarms 24/7 – not only during installation, but throughout the life of the cable.

In my next blog, we will focus on electricity distribution and discover how Nexans is helping Distribution System Operators to get the most out of their networks.

About the author

Jérôme Fournier

Jérôme Fournier is Nexans' Vice President in charge of Innovation, Services & Growth since January 1, 2019.
Jérôme joined Alcatel Cables in 1997 in the Metallurgy division. He was in charge of Nexans' R&D from 2007 to 2011 before joining Michelin Group where he held various positions as R&D Director from 2011 to 2018. As VP Innovation he is responsible for the Group's R&D, Design Labs teams, innovation partnerships and acceleration units.

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