Iceland interconnector

So there’s some talk about running a power cable from Iceland across to Scotland, thus providing Europe with a “green” source of electricity generated from Iceland’s surplus geothermal energy resources. China is already laying cables over 2,200 km / 1300 miles long, though these are above ground. For Iceland it would be around 700 miles underwater, a submarine interconnector distance that’s not been done before.

Iceland has very few people / consumers and vast energy potential. Like it or not there is an increase of demand for energy across  Europe, but in turn wants to move away from high carbon producing systems like coal power stations while nuclear seems to have fallen out of favour.

Interesting to see how this develops.  Quite a technology challenge, assume it will be high voltage DC, and they are talking about a cost of $2 billion. But then the way money is thrown around these days, how much really is $2 billion?

2 thoughts on “Iceland interconnector

  1. It sounds like a great idea to be honest. With the cost of ‘traditional’ fuels going up and unlikely to come down looking into these types of projects seriously, is the way to go.

    Why do you say DC though? I though AC made it far easier to step down to domestic voltages.

    • The main problem with DC is no longer the problem of changing its voltage, but how do you quickly switch a HVDC system off.
      With AC, as it is ‘alternating’ the current is frequently passing through a zero level, breaking the contacts in a switch at this zero point is relatively easy (and spark-free).
      However breaking a flowing DC signal (especially in an emergency when it needs to be done ‘now’) means big sparks across contacts and spikes bouncing back up the lines. These transients can do substantial damage to anything that happens to be attached to the cables (power stations, distribution networks, sub-stations…)!
      I’m not too sure what’s happened but over the last year or so there have been considerable developments in this DC switching area, bringing this problem down to a manageable level. So we can expect to see a lot more HVDC systems appearing.

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