* HVDC cables transport up to three times more power
* Technology needed to link remote green projects with
* Europe, North Africa 9-13 billion euro market over 5 years
STAFFORD, England, July 11 Grids around the
world are likely to spend about 50 billion euros ($64.3 billion)
by 2020 on new equipment to transport power over long distances,
including connections to remote renewable energy projects,
With the share of renewable energy estimated to grow to one
third of global power production by 2035, the need to move
electricity from remote dams, wind farms and solar parks to big
cities is expected to rise sharply.
"Electricity is going to come from somewhere else in future,
but it's still being consumed in the same places, so you need to
remap everything," Gregoire Poux-Guillaume, president of
Alstom's grid business, said in an interview at the French
engineering company's Stafford factory.
Alstom is one of three major companies, along with Siemens
and ABB, that supply high voltage direct
current (HVDC) equipment to connect offshore wind farms or
remote dams with population centres.
HVDC cables and equipment are used to build so-called
supergrids that can transport up to three times more electricity
than conventional alternating current (AC) lines and send it
over longer distances with fewer energy losses.
"Do you want to remap with secondary farm roads or with
highways? The supergrid is this highway," Poux-Guillaume said.
Over the 2013/14 financial year, the grid business took a
record 5.1 billion euros of future orders, including a 1 billion
euro contract to connect Germany's DolWin3 offshore wind farm.
While order indicate the business may pick up, last year its
operating income fell 4 percent after demand slowed in India.
The overall market for HVDC technology in Europe and
northern Africa is worth 9 billion to 13 billion euros over the
coming five years, Alstom has said, two thirds of which due to
the need to connect offshore wind farms.
Alstom is competing in the region to connect offshore wind
farms, a technology that is subsidised in many European
countries because it can produce energy in large quantities.
Poux-Guillaume expects around 60 percent of the unit's
offshore wind business in Europe to focus on Germany, where a
transition from nuclear to renewable energy will require huge
German grid companies estimated last year that over 30
billion euros of total investment would been needed over 10
Grid operator Amprion is seeking planning permission to
build a 1 billion euro direct current power line to transport
electricity to the southwest, where the bulk of nuclear plants
will be shut down.
In other regions, Alstom also expects demand for HVDC
technology to grow, with demand from Americas amounting 16
billion euros by 2018.
In Brazil, Alstom secured a huge project four years ago to
supply technology to connect dams in the west with the
south-east where demand is highest.
Alstom had sold off its power transmission and distribution
business in 2004, when the group was financially troubled and
needed a 2.5 billion euro bailout from the French state.
Alstom bought back the transmission part in 2010, and the
unit's orders and revenue have risen since then.
($1 = 0.7778 euros)
(Reporting by Karolin Schaps; editing by Jane Baird)