HVDC cable solutions to face the industry challenges for the energy transition

As governments set increasingly challenging renewable energy targets, Prysmian’s new generation of 525 kV high voltage direct current (HVDC) cables is playing a growing role in helping utilities and TSOs to meet these goals.

Among the latest news, European Union agreed to step up the pace of the energy transition, approving rules in September 2023 to raise the share of renewables in its overall energy consumption to at least 42.5% by 2030 from previous 32%. To meet these goals, it’s not enough to simply install new generation sites. They must be connected to the grid and increasing the amount of power each link can transmit is essential for deploying the needed infrastructure in time.

HVDC cables are used as interconnectors between countries to link areas with different market prices, and to manage supply and demand for intermittent power sources such as wind and solar, helping to limit investment on peaking power plants (typically fuelled by fossil fuels) and help avoiding power imbalances. HVDC cables are also used as export cables for offshore windfarms, to connect a large amount of power from offshore platforms to the grid.


As of today, Prysmian has awarded several contracts for 525 kV HVDC cables worth in total about € 11 billion in the latest sign of demand for these new high-capacity cables.

Nowadays we have all these targets to connect a huge amount of power by 2030, everyone wants big power ratings, so they need HVDC technology, HVDC cables help meet this tight deadline, because they can be deployed more quickly thanks to the lower quantity of cables to be installed for the same amount of power compared to AC alternating current, HVDC also helps in reducing the cost for power transmission, being a power intensive and efficient technology.

Davide Pietribiasi

HVDC Product Manager at Prysmian

These cables will be used by many European TSOs in projects that will help all the EU economies, including UK, to reach its goal of achieving a cumulative installed capacity of 150 GW by 2030 for offshore wind.

Prysmian is an innovation leader in both high-voltage submarine and underground cable systems. Its new 525 kV HVDC cable technology, qualified with P-Laser and XLPE insulation, makes a significant step towards more efficient, reliable and eco-friendly power transmission.

525 kV systems are effective solutions able to connect wind generation-rich coastal regions to major consumption centers, typically located far from renewable energy sources, reducing the required land usage and ensuring lower environmental impact.

For HVDC solutions with submarine sections, one of the challenges for this technology is installation at high water depths, particularly for longer distance cables in areas such as the Mediterranean Sea where there is the potential to connect renewable generation in North Africa to Europe’s consumption centers.

“The water depths we see are increasing up to 3,000 meters. That requires specific cable designs and product development, but also the installation assets to install those cables,” said Pietribiasi. Indeed, Prysmian has heavily invested in recent years in upgrading its vessel fleet being able to perform installation in very deep environment like Leonardo da Vinci and the work in progress Monna Lisa.

“It is not only a matter of having the right cable product, but it is also a matter of having a combined system solution where you can manage the installation assets and the cable technology together so you can really optimize the system and have control of the technical solution.”

Along with combined systems solutions, customers are also increasingly looking for sustainable products.

“We are being asked to connect large amounts of power efficiently and on time, but with sustainable solutions,” said Pietribiasi.

“We have to develop insulation materials which are ecofriendly, like P-Laser technology, or we need to remove the use of gases with a high carbon footprint as much as possible, and to develop alternative solutions for our accessories. The challenge is to have sustainability embedded as a design criteria.”

A sustainable supply chain is a crucial part of Prysmian’s effort to give clients the green solutions they need.

“Prysmian is in constant contacts with clients and industrial partners to gain a better understanding of where and when to invest in a responsible way,” Davide said. “We need to be able to satisfy market demand while at the same time keeping up with industry developments and government targets.”