Solar & Wind Energy


Power Conversion Technologies for Large Scale Renewables Integration

Session background and objectives

Increased intermittent renewable energy is posing new challenges to the grid, and power conversion is one of the technologies that can contribute to addressing these challenges. HVDC (high voltage DC transmission) technologies are an efficient solution for large-scale long distance transmission from distant generators such as offshore windfarms. FACTS (flexible AC transmission system) technologies can improve the stability of the grid and control voltages affected by renewables. In this session, possible roles of power conversion technologies for operation of grid with significant proportion of renewables will be discussed. These technologies will be considered in association with other possible grid management solutions.


Georg Erdmann [Chair]

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Professor, Berlin University of Technology

Bo Normark

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Chairman Annex 6 Power T&D Systems, ISGAN


The electricity system is undergoing a dramatic change with increasing penetration of renewable energy. Many countries are targeting a 100% renewable energy system.
The transmission system has traditionally played a key role for developing renewable energy. The traditional role is to transmit large scale remote hydro power to consumption centers. In the modern electricity system, the role is increasingly to also integrate wind power and solar power.
Advanced smart and strong transmission technologies including HVDC and FACTS are instrumental to enable large scale integration of renewable production. Both HVDC and FACTS technologies has demonstrated a dramatic performance increase in terms of transmission capacity and improved system performance.
The technological development and typical examples will be highlighted.

Johannes Henkel

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Head of Energy Market Development, Energy Economics, 50 Hertz Transmission GmbH


Grid operation with increased renewables and roles of power conversion technologies

50Hertz Transmission is one of the four German TSOs and has the highest share of renewable generation in its grid (49% in 2015). As the majority of RES installations are wind and solar based, the feed-in is not controllable and can only be reliably forecasted few hours before physical delivery. Additionally, this generation does not take place where large electricity demand occurs, but it has to be transported to the load centres. Both have led to increasing congestion in the grid and therefore necessary redispatch measures and so have strong impacts on grid operation. In the WindNODE project, elements of new processes for grid operation will be developed. Core idea is the inclusion of more decentralised generation units as well as flexible consumers for an optimal grid operation. Additionally, new technologies like PSTs and HVDC will be applied in order to better control power flows in the grid.

Yoshiro Owadano

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Director-General, Fukushima Renewable Energy Institute, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology(AIST)


Current situation of renewables integration in Japan and the role of power conversion technologies

To Japanese power gird, 38GW renewables (except large hydro) have been connected, and PV is dominant in the renewables. In order to mitigate intermittency of outputs from renewables, various measures are to be taken. They are increased grid interconnection between power utility areas (large scale DC link, 50-60Hz conversion station), full use of existing pumped hydro stations, output control of PV and wind power (advanced inverter/converter), internal storage and demand control etc. Power conversion is a common key technology in these measures and progressing rapidly in both performance and scale.

Atsushi Nishioka

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Energy Solution Business Unit, Hitachi, Ltd. (Chairman & CEO, Hitachi ABB HVDC Technologies, Ltd.)


In order to integrate more renewable energy in Japan, the power system needs more cross-regional interconnection capacity and more frequency regulation margin to maintain the stable operation of the grid. Among various solutions to this challenge, Hitachi has been involved in the power conversion technologies and its applications. This seminar explains about HVDC system, Battery Energy Storage system and Adjustable Speed Pumped Storage Hydro Power system, which apply power conversion technology, and how they work in the power system to enable large scale renewable energy integration. Hitachi group contributes to build a greener power system, using these power conversion technologies and applications.


1. Roles of Power Conversion Technologies in Grid

  • What will be the challenges of the grid with increased renewables?
  • What are the expected roles of power conversion technologies; will further renewables integration be enabled by them?
  • What would be the proper priority of these technologies? What would be the efficient solutions, including the combination of technologies?
  • What kind of policies and market structures can promote deployment of power conversion technologies?
  • How will market size of power conversion technologies grow in the future?

2. Development of Power Conversion Technologies

  • Where is the state of the art and what are the technological availabilities? Which technologies are ready for deployment? What is the recent progress with individual technological solutions, including cost reductions? What is to be expected in 10 years? Is the progress sufficient for a strong expansion of renewable power generation?
  • What should be the R&D priorities ? What are the challenges in R&D?

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