Hitachi Smart Cities Energy Group & Western Power Distribution (UK)

Smart Grid

Smart Grid

Hitachi Europe Smart Cities Energy Group and Western Power Distribution

The need to preserve the environment through reducing CO2 emissions is recognised by governments worldwide. The UK has ambitious targets to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 80% from 1990 levels by 2050. Part of the answer is to increase the use of renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power, however this causes challenges for the UK's electricity distribution networks. Hitachi Europe Smart Cities Energy Group is instrumental in helping Distribution Networks Operators (DNOs) meet these challenges.

Hitachi Europe Smart Cities Energy Group delivers innovative solutions for electricity Distribution Network Operators, building on information & control and power engineering capabilities from Japan.

Andres Larriera, Head of Smart Cities Energy Group, Hitachi Europe Ltd.

Hitachi is very proud to be part of this project with Western Power Distribution, and we are delighted with the initiative by Ofgem to support the trialling of new technologies, operating and commercial arrangements for DNOs through its Low Carbon Networks Fund.

Akira Shimizu, Managing Director, Hitachi Europe Ltd.


Helping to provide a secure and stable supply of electricity

The UK's variable weather means that the power generated from renewable energy sources fluctuates constantly. Western Power Distribution, the UK's largest DNO, have recognised the challenge to be faced from increasing renewable energy sources connected to their network. They have partnered with Hitachi Europe Smart Cities Energy Group to find a solution to voltage variations.

As the UK strives to meet its carbon reduction targets and implements financial incentives around that this has driven wider industry to look at connecting renewable technologies and generation onto the network.

This for the DNO creates real challenge and also opportunity for the wider integration of renewable generation onto the network, in terms of how we operate and manage our network to best optimise it without utilising just traditional reinforcement.

Jonathan Berry, Innovation and Low Carbon Networks Engineer, Western Power Distribution


Hitachi installs Europe's first D-STATCOM system for Western Power Distribution

The Hitachi voltage control system project addresses the challenge of fluctuating voltages caused by renewable energy sources connected to the distribution networks. The first D-STATCOM device was manufactured in Japan, and shipped to the UK, where it has been installed adjacent to a wind farm in South West England.

The design and manufacturing work is conducted by Hitachi engineers residing at Omika Works, one of many Hitachi factories in Hitachi-city in Japan.

Over the course of last year, we worked with our Japanese engineers to ensure that the solution we provide to Western Power Distribution meets their requirements under LCNF.

Andres Larriera, Head of Smart Cities Energy Group, Hitachi Europe Ltd.

Hitachi's engineers have come over from Japan to Roskrow Wind Farm for a week to do the detailed commissioning work of the D-STATCOM unit installation which is the first of its kind in the UK.

The Hitachi engineers also brought a multitude of test equipment to ensure they had just what they needed to do the commissioning works.

My role in the project has been to design and get us to the stage where we can commission. My role on site is to ensure that all the works are overseen and carried out correctly and provide detailed data as required.

Jonathan Berry, Innovation and Low Carbon Networks Engineer, Western Power Distribution

The principle behind the D-STATCOM design is Voltage Source Converter technology, which utilises IGBTs to deconstruct and then reconstruct 3 supply phases. But the intelligence of Hitachi's device is in the controller, the brains of the device, which reflects Hitachi's many years of experience in the Japanese power industry.

Douglas Cheung, Project Manager, Smart Cities Energy Group, Hitachi Europe Ltd.


Reducing voltage fluctuations and increasing load capacity

Hitachi approached Western Power Distribution with a range of smart grid solutions, but it was the voltage control system utilising Hitachi's D-STATCOM that stood out as the preferred one. The Hitachi D-STATCOM is a static synchronous compensator designed for distribution networks that can source/sink reactive power, thereby controlling voltage on the network. The device comes in a much smaller footprint than traditional highly complex transmission level SVCs as well as combining high-speed operation, performance and flexible control. Initial simulations show that the Hitachi D-STATCOM can improve voltage levels in some instances greater than 60%.

Western Power Distribution is building a relationship with Hitachi based on engineering skill and commitment to quality. We have been working as a team to ensure that we deliver the best benefits for the project and so far it has been a fruitful experience.

The D-STATCOM project is a great example of this, utilising Hitachi's experience of the product and our experience of the network to integrate a new design solution onto the network and maximise the performance.

Jonathan Berry, Innovation and Low Carbon Networks Engineer, Western Power Distribution

Hitachi expects significant business growth for dynamic voltage control systems in Europe, as more renewables are connected to distribution networks. In the meantime, we will further contribute to the DNO community leveraging our industry experience and R&D programmes from Japan applied to European projects, as the business case for smart grid technologies begins to offer value for money for all stakeholders.

Andres Larriera, Head of Smart Cities Energy Group, Hitachi Europe Ltd.

This Smart Grid demonstration project is a critical step in developing further Hitachi's Social Infrastructure Business in Europe. Hitachi's capabilities in combining power engineering with information technology make it a leading potential supplier of Smart Grid solutions for distribution network operators, as EU Member States move to a low carbon economy.

Akira Shimizu, Managing Director, Hitachi Europe Ltd.


About Western Power Distribution

Western Power Distribution is the electricity distribution network operator for the Midlands, South Wales and the South West. The company delivers electricity to more than 7.6 million customers over a 55,300 sq kms service area. The network consists of 216,000 kms of overhead lines and underground cables, and 184,000 substations.

About Hitachi Europe Smart Cities Energy Group (Formerly Smart Grid Venture)

Hitachi Europe Smart Cities Energy Group offers innovative energy solutions and systems to support the building of sustainable communities and cities. The group delivers a range of information and control systems that include energy management systems, demand response and reduction management, EV charging infrastructure systems, and in particular for electricity distribution networks, power electronics, energy storage technologies and business analytics that improve energy efficiency, power quality and reliability.

Hitachi Europe Smart Cities Energy Group is a member of the SmartGrid GB, a cross-industry group which acts as a national champion to promote the development and delivery of smart grid in Great Britain which will transform the way energy is generated, distributed and consumed for decades to come.

Western Power Distribution
Electricity supply
Release Date: 
March 2012
Products & Services: 
Smart City
Solutions By: 
Hitachi Europe Ltd. Smart Cities Energy Group