(EnergyAsia, January 13 2015, Tuesday) — In separate announcements, European power solutions providers ABB and Alstom have signed agreements to supply their technology and services in Japan and Singapore.

ABB said it is partnering Hitachi Limited to supply high voltage direct current (HVDC) technology services to meet Japan’s energy demand while Alstom will work with Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University (NTU) to design, develop and deploy microgrid power management solutions to support the country’s renewable energy initiative.

The ABB-Hitachi venture will provide design, engineering, supply and after-sales services related to the DC system of HVDC projects featuring ABB’s technology with the Japanese firm acting as the main prime contractor and 51% shareholder.

HVDC technology enables the smooth transmission of electricity between two grid systems by converting alternating current (AC) from the supply side to direct current (DC) before transmission. Power is re-converted to AC in the receiving system for use.

ABB said its system is ideal for long-distance transmission as the technology minimises electricity losses, is inexpensive to instal, and is well-suited for interconnections between two different frequencies.

Global demand for the use of HVDC technology to connect renewable energy sources has been rising rapidly, expanding the demand for voltage source converter (VSC) HVDC systems to facilitate grid-stabilisation. It is ideal for long-distance underground and underwater power links and interconnections for land-based and offshore wind farms, offshore oil and gas platforms, city center in-feeds where space is a major constraint, and cross-border interconnections that often require subsea links. Its ability to comply with grid codes ensures robust network connections regardless of application, said ABB..

It is ideal for long-distance underground and underwater power links and interconnections, and is increasingly deployed for the integration of renewable energy from land-based and offshore wind farms, the mainland power supply to islands and offshore oil and gas platforms, city center in-feeds where space is a major constraint, and cross-border interconnections that often require subsea links. Its ability to comply with grid codes ensures robust network connections regardless of application, said ABB.

With the increasing introduction of renewable energy and innovation in electric power systems, Japan’s demand for voltage source converter (VSC) HVDC systems is expected to increase to support applications such as wide-area power transmission grids and connection of offshore wind farms.

“Since the first development in the 1970s, Hitachi has participated in every HVDC project in Japan and has continued to underpin the stabilisation of the electricity grid. The establishment of a new company combining the strengths of Hitachi and ABB will provide a framework for the timely provision of the new technologies required by the Japanese HVDC market,” said Hiroaki Nakanishi, Hitachi’s chairman and CEO.

“By enhancing and expanding the HVDC business through its partnership with ABB, Hitachi will continue to contribute to the stabilisation of Japan’s electric power grid.”

Ulrich Spiesshofer, ABB’s CEO, said:

“ABB pioneered HVDC 60 years ago and has continually pushed the boundaries of this technology. Our presence across half the world’s installed base and our capability to develop and manufacture all major components of the HVDC value chain inhouse have put us in a leading position in the industry.”

In Singapore, Alstom has begun collaborating with the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) to design, develop and deploy MicroGrid Power Mix Management (MPMM) solution as part of the country’s Renewable Energy Integration Demonstrator (REIDS) initiative.

Announced last October, REIDS is a pioneering effort to construct and operate a microgrid to manage and integrate electricity generated from multiple sources including solar, wind, tidal and diesel as well as provide energy storage and power-to-gas solutions.

The partners said they will jointly develop their unique MicroGrid Power Mix Management solution, based on Alstom’s Digital Automation Platform (DAP), to manage power exchanges within a microgrid whether it is connected to or separated from the main grid.

The solution will be implemented at NTU’s EcoCampus and later on the Semakau Landfill, an offshore landfill between the islands Pulau Semakau and Pulau Sakeng, located south of the main island of Singapore.

NTU said EcoCampus’s deployment will enable it to enhance the energy efficiency on its premises while integrating a mix of distributed energy resources. The Semakau Landfill project will demonstrate the ability to manage new energy mix based on high penetration of renewable sources in an off-the-grid environment.

“The main objective of this project is to ensure a greener and stable supply of energy through the integration of smart energy management and energy storage systems,” the partners said.

“The microgrid solution in Semakau Landfill can also be used to power small islands and rural communities off the national grid. It may also function as a back-up solution during emergencies within urban areas.”

Hervé Amossé, Alstom’s vice president for substation automation solutions, said:

“We are delighted with this opportunity to bring our experience, technology and expertise to support Singapore’s, ever growing energy requirements. This landmark project sets the country on a strategic path of integrating and fully utilising multiple sources of energy for long term sustainability.”

Lam Khin Yong, NTU’s chief of staff and research vice president, said:

“Renewable and sustainable energy is a key pillar of NTU’s research efforts. NTU’s collaboration with a global corporation such as Alstom underpins the university’s strength in transforming its engineering expertise into practical industry applications.  Micro-grids will play an ever-growing role in the rapidly expanding electric energy technologies and systems in the Southeast Asian region and NTU is well-placed to contribute to this growth. The systemic integration of renewable energies and energy storage based on the micro-grid technology presents many collaboration opportunities between NTU and the industry.”

Goh Chee Kiong, executive director for cleantech and cities, infrastructure & industrial solutions at Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) said:

“Singapore aims to be the leading clean energy hub in Asia where companies can develop and commercialise energy management solutions able to effectively integrate multiple energy sources. Singapore has set up innovation platforms such as REIDS to foster co-innovation among complementary companies in the energy industry ecosystem. We are pleased to partner with Alstom, a global leader in power engineering, to use Singapore as a springboard to grow the markets in Asia.”

The project will largely be delivered by Alstom’s engineering teams in Singapore, France and the UK.