Closing the Circuit

Article ID: 545548

Released: 20-Oct-2008 5:00 PM EDT

Source Newsroom: IEEE Spectrum Magazine

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Newswise — Planners in the electric-power industry have long anticipated the construction of a synchronous network that would interconnect much of Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East. Now the vision of a giant Mediterranean Electricity Ring is becoming a reality. The western side of North Africa is already linked to Europe through undersea power cables that span the Strait of Gibraltar, and in the next six months or so engineers will attempt to extend this network to Libya, Egypt, Syria, Jordan, and Lebanon, which up until this point have constituted a separate bloc to the east.

Energizing existing tie lines linking Turkey to Syria and to Bulgaria would then be all that is needed to close the Mediterranean Electricity Ring--or would it? Some engineers believe that a synchronous ac network of this size and shape may be unmanageable without the addition of high-voltage dc (HVDC) interconnections. Such lines may be needed in the future in any event, so that North Africa can export significant amounts of power (much of it renewably generated) to Europe.


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