The renewable energy market is booming, and it has a major role to play in the fight against climate change. Rising electricity costs, combating climate change, changing technologies…: the factors in favour of renewable energy are many and they are boosting its growth. Worldwide, the capacity to produce renewable energy has increased by 45% since 2019. The European Union aims to reach 42.5% renewable energy by 2030*. Wind energy is an extremely dynamic market with a capacity increase of +90% since 2020**.
However, these installations have special characteristics: constraints related to salinity in an offshore environment, significant mechanical stress due to wind, etc.
In this context, what specificities need to be considered for resistors that are suitable for wind energy? What role do resistors play?
Offshore wind energy: a growth market with many possibilities
Energy transition involves industrial developments, and the entire value chain is contributing to this, including METAL DEPLOYE RESISTOR.
Among the forms of renewable energy, offshore wind farms are developing at high speed. These installations have many advantages when compared to an on-land environment, particularly in the case of strong winds. Wind turbines are usually stationed near the coast (less than 20km), but we are currently seeing technological progress in the deployment of offshore parks further at sea. The goal is more power for more electricity generated.
In 2020, the European Commission launched a plan for the development of offshore wind power with a target of 300 GW by 2050***, compared to just 30 GW at the end of 2022. To achieve this ambitious goal, more and more European countries are getting involved and joining forces to create large wind farms.
Growth in all these markets, however, raises the question of whether raw materials and production capacity will be able to keep up with such strong demand. At METAL DEPLOYE RESISTOR, measures are already in place to prepare for this growing demand, including the opening of a new plant covering more than 3,200 sq. m near Lyon. It will be operational at the end of 2023.
Specific resistors for wind power
By its nature, the marine environment (offshore or onshore wind turbine platform) is confronted with difficult conditions: wind, salt, moisture, seismicity… This combination of elements can create a very corrosive environment that is hostile for materials, generally characterised as a C5 or CX environment.
Resistors must therefore be able to ensure unfailing quality and reliability in order to withstand the climatic conditions. METAL DEPLOYE RESISTOR has invested many resources and innovated over the years to now guarantee corrosion-proof resistors and limit the appearance of rust as much as possible.
For its products, METAL DEPLOYE RESISTOR has developed a finishing system that is appropriate to different categories of corrosive environments, ranging from basic steel to resistors that are almost entirely made of stainless steel. Offshore testing in saline environments was carried out to qualify this finishing system.
In addition, to prevent any external contamination of the resistor components, METAL DEPLOYE RESISTOR has implemented several operational measures. These include the use of specific machines for stainless steel, the application of protective films on all external surfaces, and the creation of dedicated assembly areas for stainless steel.
Thanks to superior product quality and consideration of the installation environment, multiple major players in the renewable energy market place put their trust in METAL DEPLOYE RESISTOR, such as Hitachi Energy, General Electrics, Siemens Energy, TenneT, etc.
The role of resistors for renewable energies
In order to ensure efficient transmission over long distances and to integrate offshore wind energy to the electricity grid, it is imperative to install HVDC stations. Since renewable energy is characterised by variability and intermittency, it becomes essential to maintain grid stability by regulating parameters such as voltage and controlling power flows directly on the grid. To do this, FACT systems are deployed by energy transport and distribution stakeholders.
What’s more, using power resistors is indispensable for these two types of installation to function properly. These resistors play a versatile role in making it possible to control and adjust the power flow, while ensuring the protection of the components against overloads and short-circuits.
Short technical summary below ⬇️
Of course, our project managers and our design office are at your disposal for any further information.
HVDC / HVAC systems
High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) systems allow separate power grids to be interconnected, both nationally and internationally. They facilitate the exchange of electricity between countries or regions, thereby strengthening the reliability and security of energy supply.
Offshore renewable energy farms are often located far from the coast and they require this type of installation. In conventional VSC-HVDC systems, the use of power resistors is necessary. To the extent that the wind farm is near and directly connected to the local grid, HVAC (High Voltage Alternating Current) systems are preferred. They are used for the transmission of electricity in high voltage alternating current (AC).
The purpose of Flexible AC Transmission Systems (FACTS) in the electricity sector is to improve the control and flexibility of alternating current (AC) power transmission systems. FACTS technologies are designed to improve the efficiency, stability and reliability of power grids by optimising the use of existing transmission infrastructure.
All these systems use a multitude of power resistors:
*European Union: A target of 42.5% renewable energy in 2030. Directorate of Legal and Administrative Information.
**IEA (2021). Renewable Energy Market Update 2021.
***Offshore wind: nine European countries commit to decuple their offshore capacities. Actu-environnement.com.