Hitachi Energy to step up efforts to help push digitalization of China's power grid |
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Hitachi Energy to step up efforts to help push digitalization of China's power grid

By ZHENG XIN China Daily Updated: 2022-04-28
Technicians inspect the Zhangbei DC-grid facilities in Yanqing district, Beijing, in September. With part of energy solutions from Hitachi Energy, the facilities were a key power-supply project for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games. [Photo/Xinhua]

Zurich-based Hitachi Energy vows to continuously push forward grid network digitalization in China to further facilitate the country's digital power grid construction, thus helping prevent possible challenges posed to the country's power systems with increasing renewable power penetration.

In the global energy transition, electricity will become the backbone of the entire energy system. Distributed energy generation from renewables must deal with the unpredictability of wind and sun, which has been increasing the complexity of the power system, said Claudio Facchin, CEO of Hitachi Energy.

To solve the problem, Hitachi Energy has been investing more in the digitalization of grids, as well as software solutions to manage assets and optimize the planning phase, the construction phase and operation and maintenance, to ensure the power system operates safely and stably while optimizing the allocation of resources on a large scale, he said during the Energy Transformation and Future Grids Forum held on April 20 in Beijing.

"Hitachi Energy will continue to invest in China and we want to enhance our cooperation with local partners and customers," Facchin said.

According to China's modern energy system plan, the share of non-fossil energy consumption in the country will increase to around 20 percent by 2025, and the proportion of non-fossil power generation will be around 39 percent by then.

With a higher penetration of renewable power gains in the country's grid network, it is necessary to integrate it smartly with other power sources and automatically deal with their intermittency, as renewable energies like solar and wind power do not consistently produce energy at all hours.

The digital power grid construction sector has attracted massive investment in China in recent years, including domestic grid operators State Grid of China and China Southern Power Grid, to continually push the boundaries of technology and innovation and Hitachi Energy has been one of the overseas technology contributors.

Luo Zuoxian, head of intelligence and research at the Sinopec Economics and Development Research Institute, said the digital network is expected to be more responsive in operations, while it is also capable of detecting problems in advance with intelligent intervention.

Wei Hanyang, a power market analyst at research firm BloombergNEF, said a digital power grid that applies artificial intelligence, big data, simulation modeling and the internet of things will better facilitate the consumption of power increasingly produced by clean energy in the country.

Hitachi Energy vows to continue innovation and collaboration to drive technology and help manage the complexity brought along by increasing renewable energy in the grid in China.

"Hitachi Energy has been and will be playing a key role to push forward potential innovation of the digital area in China, focusing in terms of research and development in the grid digitalization while leveraging our competence and knowledge that we have in all parts of the world," said Facchin.

"Hitachi Energy has witnessed in China a tremendous push in innovation and technology during the past few years to help precisely strengthen the backbone and integrate bulk renewables such as offshore wind, including the high-voltage direct-current transmission, which China has been leading in the space."

According to Facchin, many of these innovations created jointly in China are now deployed and leveraged in many other parts of the world, including the Zhangbei DC-grid that has helped integrate massive amounts of renewable power in heavily populated Beijing, capable of supplying around 9 million people with clean energy.

In the future, the company will continue to fertilize across the markets, technologies and sectors to jointly develop and deploy energy and digital technologies, he said.

Zhang Jinquan, executive vice-president of Hitachi Energy, said China is not only the most important production base for Hitachi Energy worldwide but also a strategic market that has been developing rapidly.

"In the years to come, we want to continue to push forward the application and development of digitalization in the energy sector with our local partners," he said.