DNV GL has opened its expanded and upgraded KEMA High-Power Laboratory (HPL). Following a EUR 70 million investment, the newly extended test lab is the world's first - and currently only - facility capable of testing ultra-high voltage (UHV) electrical grid components.
The new laboratory will help the power industry successfully transition to so called "super grids" for a safe and reliable supply to meet rapidly growing demand for sustainable electricity. It will be the first ever facility capable of testing power transformers up to 800kV and switchgear up to 1200kV.
Energy - and particularly electricity - is increasingly important to modern life. DNV GL's recently published Energy Transition Outlook 2017 predicts that electricity consumption will rise by 140% by 2050. What's more, with countries striving to meet their Paris Agreement targets, wind and solar will play a much greater role - accounting for as much as 80% of global electricity production by 2050.
Meeting this rise in demand while increasing the proportion of electricity from renewables requires so-called super grids. These are large-scale electricity transport networks operating at voltages of 800kV and above. Super grids can both increase grid capacity and connect remote wind and solar farms to energy consumers.
The social and financial consequences of a power outage are huge, making grid reliability critically important. Most high-impact power outages are caused by a failure in a single grid component. Equipment certification based on global industry standards allows component manufacturers, power utilities and network operators to verify the quality of a component before it is installed and thus reduce the risk of outages.
For the first time ever, the extended KEMA High Power Laboratory in Arnhem, the Netherlands gives the power industry access to the extreme power and voltage levels needed to rigorously test the UHV components that are being used to build super grids.
"Today we celebrate both the opening of the world's first facility for testing super grid components and 90 years of our involvement in the electricity transmission and distribution sector through our KEMA laboratories. In a cleaner, more electrified world, testing remains crucial in delivering safe and reliable electricity to society," said Ditlev Engel, CEO of DNV GL's energy business,
"The demand for large-scale electricity transport networks will increase drastically in the years to come. As an independent partner for quality assurance, we continue to be 100% committed to supporting the energy industry in their next steps towards a more sustainable energy future," continued Engel.
"The new KEMA High Power Laboratory is a unique and invaluable resource for the whole power industry. For us as an innovation leader in transformers, testing plays an important role in developing our cutting-edge products. Testing at KEMA provides independent proof of the quality of our transformers. The ability to test UHV components under realistic conditions will facilitate the industry's transition to the super grid age with real confidence," said Beatrix Natter, CEO Siemens Transformers.