Presentations - WindEurope Annual Event 2024

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Reducing the environmental impact of wind farm power transmission with compact power lines

Héctor de Santos, Product Manager, Jiangsu Shemar Electric


The EU Commission expects wind to generate half of Europe's electricity by 2050 in order to move towards net zero emissions. These ambitious expectations require rapid growth and massive installation of wind energy, which poses numerous challenges and risks related to environmental impacts and regulations. Minimising the impact of new installations is key to ensuring that all environmental approvals are obtained on time and that there are no delays or cancellations. The transmission lines to connect the wind farms to the grid is a necessary part of the projects and are also subject to these regulations. While more R&D has been focused on cables for offshore wind in recent years, onshore is still the main type, with Europe installing the 87% of new installations in 2022 onshore. This paper presents the technical advances made in high voltage polymer insulation to develop new compact overhead power lines for onshore installations. These compact lines are built using composite insulated cross-arms, which minimise environmental and visual impacts by reducing tower size and height, right of way (ROW), land use and electromagnetic fields (EMF). The technology is proving to be an effective solution to overcome the growing public opposition to the construction of high-voltage overhead lines for new wind farms, and a key tool in obtaining the environmental approvals needed for projects more quickly and on time. The use of this technology also offers interesting opportunities in the area of repowering wind farms. As electricity production increases, composite insulated cross-arms can be used to upgrade the power lines of wind farms keeping the existing towers and without the need for additional environmental approvals.

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