Plenary Session Speakers
Prof. Marco Liserre

Prof. Marco Liserre,

Kiel University, Germany

Unlocking the Hidden Capacity of the Electrical Grid through Smart Transformer and Smart Transmission


Power systems are experiencing a rapid and dramatic transformation driven by the massive integration of non-dispatchable renewable energy sources such as wind and solar and highly variable loads such as electric vehicles and air conditioning.

This challenges existing grid assets eventually leading to update them which in turn increase significantly the costs of the sustainable technologies. Power electronics is a pivotal technology for electrical power processing for renewable energies and sustainable transportation. By means of “smart” functionalities power electronics converters already embedded in such applications, can also contribute to guaranteeing the overall system stable operation.

Anyway this cooperative contribution from distributed devices may be not enough leading to the need in the voltage transformation and power transmission of “system level” power electronics solutions. In the case of large charging stations a Smart Transformer while in the case of large solar and wind parks integration Medium or High Voltage Direct Current Transmission are system level solutions.

This paper wants to review the potential of using such infrastructures to increase the capacity of existing grid assets avoiding or deferring their upgrade and hence reducing the overall costs of renewables integration  and of the electrification of transport sector. In fact the power converters embedded in ST and HVDC can provide fast frequency and voltage response and precise control of power flow acting at system level much more effectively and feasibly for system operators as the distributed power converters embedded in several small sources and users.

This paper reviews for the first time these two key power electronics “system level” solutions together – Smart Transformer and High Voltage Direct Current – starting from their basic functionalities and showings how they can go beyond them showing how with grid forming functionalities they can offer new “Smart Grid” tools to enhance the capability of the existing electric grid infrastructures.