Atlantic Wind Connection

I believe the Atlantic Wind Connection (AWC) will henceforth set a precedent for how wind farms and solar farms should be hooked up, on a multi-terminal HVDC system. In this, AWC is a ground-breaking project. It makes a lot of sense to hook up remote wind farms and pumped storage sites along a single HVDC line that also ties in to several major power nodes in the AC grid. The Atlantic Wind Connection does only part of what is needed: it ties together multiple high power nodes of the existing AC grid on the East Coast with around ten offshore wind farms (if all goes as expected), but it is not self-redundant, and it cannot support anything close to its full rated capacity from one end of the project (in Virginia) to the other end of the project (in New Jersey). Unfortunately, the AWC falls short of its potential as a worldwide precedent-setting proof of concept design in three ways:
  1. The AWC per se is not redundant; if however, a land-based HVDC link connected the two ends of the AWC, then it becomes self-redundant if there are enough main loop circuit breakers on the system to isolate any fault on the main line. (Power line loops are intrinsically self-redundant insofar as power between two nodes on the loop always flows in two directions, clockwise and counter-clockwise).
  2. At present, the AWC does not plan to place DC breakers along each segment of the main line from Virginia to New Jersey. That effectively means that the entire line could be blacked out by a short anywhere on the main line. I expect that at least one Circuit Breaker will be installed along the main line by the time the project is commissioned; this could be the type of power electronic  HVDC circuit breaker recently announced by ABB, or it could be a purely electromechanical Ballistic Breaker, which is significantly less expensive per kW of transmitted power.
  3. From a national energy policy point of view, the biggest flaw of the AWC is that it is highly limited in end-to-end transmission capacity. Although the AWC website, and their PR statements point out the 7GW total transmission capacity, that is a misleading statistic, in that this refers to the total capacity to deliver or receive power from the shore. This flow is constrained by the transmission capacity of the cable, and the actual end-to-end power transmission capacity is much less; my guess is 2.2GW (I was not able to find any discussion of this on the AWC website).
The AWC could be an extremely transformative project if it were based on elpipes with 10 GW capacity from end to end, with Ballistic Breakers between each set of next neighbour power taps. Coupling this with a land-based underground elpipe following rail rights-of-way that connects the northern terminus of the AWC in NJ to the southern AWC terminus in Virginia would create the first self-redunsant HVDC loop in the world; this would take a giant step towards a future supergrid. This is a worthy goal for the AWC to at least examine.

I have so far found that US-based venture capital investors will not take an interest in the elpipe because it is "too big, too long term." I have therefore put my startup Electric Pipeline Corporation onto Wefunder:
https://wefunder.com/elpipes in hopes that I can get started on this important (and expensive) development soon. It would help me move this forward if you will "follow" me on Wefunder; I expect the US Securities and Exchange Commission will be issuing rules by May that will allow me to raise funds though Wefunder (this is not legal yet, but by following EPC, you will help move me to the front of the queue when the final rules are announced).

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