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Features Zurich, Switzerland 17-12-2021

3 min read

Hitachi Energy´s innovative digital power plant solution gives secure power supply for China’s megacity

Skyline of Shenzhen Bay and Buildings. New Property Development and Urban Park.
Hitachi Energy virtual power plant (VPP) is a digital solution from our experts in Power Consulting, that is supporting a more flexible and efficient power grid that can meet surging demand for sustainable, electrical power from millions of residents in Shenzhen, China.

The modern megacity of Shenzhen (pop. 12.59 million) in southeastern Guangdong province connects Hong Kong to the Chinese mainland. Like China’s other megacities, Shenzhen is dealing with intense demand for reliable supplies of quality power, limited land resources for expanding grid capacity, and the need to handle emerging impacts such as distributed energy systems, demand-side response and electricity markets. 

Teaming up with China Southern Power Grid Co., Ltd (CSG) - one of two state power grids in China, operating in the southern provinces of Guangdong, Guangxi, Yunnan, Guizhou and Hainan - Hitachi Energy is supplying key technologies to support CSG’s first trial VPP system solution in a 110 kilovolt (kV) substation in Shenzhen. 

CSG is tackling rapid load growth in megacities like Shenzhen with a commitment to digitalize its power resources and accelerate the application of key technologies such as cloud computing, big data, intelligent control, mobile applications and the Internet of Things. Hitachi Energy has worked closely with CSG since 2018 to explore and help develop a workable business model of the digital grid. 

The Shenzhen VPP installation can manage 20MW of distributed energy resources and up to 1,000 different electricity users, operating with a control platform that is less than 1m2 in size. The system can be scaled up to larger capacity and with more users.

Using software-based, smart grid compatible technology, a Virtual Power Plant platform can manage multiple forms of distributed energy resources (e.g. photovoltaic generation), controllable loads (e.g. smart buildings, electric vehicles) and energy storage systems within the same platform, with automatic closed-loop control. With coordinated and optimized control, the VPP system can provide ancillary services to power grids, which can improve power-load balancing, enhance grid stability, and contribute additional flexibility to grid operation. It ensures reliable electrical power and supports the integration of renewable energy into Shenzhen’s power grid with advanced planning, communication, calculation, dispatching and market innovations.

The aggregation effect of distributed energy resources in VPP systems also ensures the future engagement of small and medium-sized energy suppliers in the electricity market, a new platform for energy interconnections that supports a more intelligent, efficient and sustainable energy system.

"The cooperation with CSG enables us for the first time to apply the leading-edge technologies of VPP in China, and help Shenzhen develop a safe, reliable, green and efficient digital grid,” says Zhang JinQuan, Executive Vice President and Region Head of Greater China, Hitachi Energy. “We are willing to work actively with domestic users to promote the digital transformation of the power grid and build a future energy system based on renewable energy.”Hitachi Energy has delivered dozens of VPP systems to customers in Europe, including Europe’s largest VPP for Next Kraftwerke GmbH, a major VPP operator and energy trader based in Germany. The VPP solution designed for the Shenzhen grid has been adopted as part of the effort to develop an international VPP standard, led by the International Electrotechnical Commission.