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#136656 - 04/21/03 11:20 AM The world's power grid
C-H Offline


Registered: 09/17/02
Posts: 1508
Loc: Stockholm, Sweden
I was reading through an article on an Iranian website and stumbled on the following section:

"One of the most important roles Iran can play in the region is to establish trade relationship among neighboring states. This also includes exchange of energy with neighboring states. To this end, the energy minister reiterates that Iran's power grid has been connected to those of Turkmenistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan Republic and Turkey in recent years and that efforts are underway to establish similar power grid connection with Pakistan and Afghanistan at their joint borders with Iran. Joining the world's power grid is also among the future plans of the Energy Ministry. "


Of course, one then wonders what the "World's power grid" is. Having looked around on the net, I have realised that such a thing is in fact under construction. It will be the largest machine ever built by man! It's just so cool!

The Western European grid is currently being expanded to include all European countries except the former Soviet Union this year and next year also Turkey. Most of it synchronised.

Through Spain this is connected to North Africa. At the same time, the arab countries Libya, Egypt, Jordan and Syria are now interconnected. This year or next, they'll connect with the European grid. Synchronized!

Getting big, huh?

Next is Iraq, which when the reconstruction starts will become connected to Syria and Turkey. (It was connected to Turkey before the first Gulf war) The plans have been there for years. As the US companies are in a hurry to rebuild Iraq, before democracy and judges start to cause problems, I wouldn't be surprised to see an interconnect in two years.

Thus, there will be a continuous electrical grid from the socket in Downing Street to the Goverment buildings in Baghdad!

At the same time, as you can see from the Iranian quote above, neighbouring Iran is or will be connected to a whole bunch of countries. There is also a deal from last year to build a power line to Syria, either through Iraq or Turkey. Both options realistically means putting it in sync with the European grid.

That'll mean that there will be about one billion people receiving power from the same grid!

Wait, it gets better! The whole former Soviet Union is on common power grid, with the exception of areas bordering other grids. Plenty of disconnected but operational power lines between the former Soviet Union run into eastern Europe. Russia and the other countries have been working on their grid in recent years to make it possible to (re)connect it to Europe.

That adds another 250 million people, in a few years time.

To the southeast of Russia lies India and China, both of which have huge grids. I know of no plans to connect them, but it's a logical development. China + India = 2.5 billion people. Tens or more years away, but still!

South of China is Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia and more countries. These recently agreed to created a common power grid.

The United States and Canada have a huge power grid together. There are advanced plans to connect it to Russia, via Alaska.

Is this gonna be big or what?

Bigger is better! Or at least it's cooler!

[This message has been edited by C-H (edited 04-21-2003).]

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#136657 - 04/22/03 11:22 PM Re: The world's power grid
Trumpy Offline


Registered: 07/05/02
Posts: 8532
Loc: SI,New Zealand
This sounds like a synchronisation nightmare, however I've always wondered if all of the Middle East, Europe and Asia are in fact inter-connected.
Doesn't China and Japan use 100VAC?.
With all of this inter-linking going on, wouldn't there(at some stage)be a voltage conflict?.
Let's face it, these days if you're not young, you're old - Red Green grin

#136658 - 04/23/03 08:03 AM Re: The world's power grid
pauluk Offline

Registered: 08/11/01
Posts: 7693
Loc: Norfolk, England
Yes, Japan uses a nominal 100V for small appliances, although as the international links will be at high voltage that's not going to be a problem.

Synchronization of a super-Continental powergrid might run into problems there though. Japan already has a mix of 50Hz in some parts of the country and 60Hz in others.

#136659 - 04/23/03 08:30 AM Re: The world's power grid
C-H Offline


Registered: 09/17/02
Posts: 1508
Loc: Stockholm, Sweden
you are quite right that the distribution voltage doesn't matter. But the HV links better have the same voltage... 400 kV is a common voltage for 50Hz grids, but grids built with Soviet help use 330kV and 500kV instead.

China uses 220/380V 50Hz. In fact, just about the entire Asia, except Korea, Japan and Taiwan are on 50Hz.

However, there's a simple reason why you can't sync Japan in with mainland Asia: It's an island. The longest AC underwater link in the world is the one from England to Isle of Man, 100 km. It's said to be very difficult to make AC links any longer. Therefore, Japan is likely to be connected to China with DC links only.

Nothern and southern Japan are linked with DC links, because of the 50/60Hz thing.

As a side note: China and North Korea have a hydropower facility toghether, which delivers electricity to both countries. However, North Korea is supposed to be 60Hz, so I suppose they have separate generators.

Some countries in the middle east don't even have a national grid, yet. (And I think Saudi Arabia is on 60Hz)

Entire Africa - except Liberia - is on 50Hz, so in theory the whole thing can be connected in sync. The African economy (or lack thereof) is likely to block that, though.


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