ABB technology for virtual power plant in China

ABB technology for customized intelligent distribution, metering and coordination control has helped the Chinese utility State Grid Jibei Electric Power Co., Ltd., to build a virtual power plant.

The virtual power plant (VPP) is not a conventional physical power plant. It is a network of clean energy generation systems and energy storage devices – a seamless virtual platform that controls power generation via a distributed power-management system. Although power from the interconnected units is dispatched through the central control room of the VPP, they remain independent in their operation and ownership. The VPP not only enables the coordinated control of its distributed energy sources, it also manages flexible power consumers and storage devices, forecasting, optimizing and dispatching, as though it were a single physical plant.

Since the new VPP was put into operation in December 2019, 11 types of flexible energy resources have been connected and, thanks to its IOTIPS (Internet of Things in Power Systems)-based operation, energy data is received in real time. Around 26.5 MW capacity was connected in stage one of the project and a further 226 MW capacity is expected to be incorporated in stage two. Upon completion of this second stage, the VPP will meet the needs of 12.4 million people living in the three cities of Zhangjiakou, Qinhuangdao and Langfang.

Stabilizing the supply of power from inherently variable renewable energy sources such as solar and wind, and balancing it with a wide range of demand, presents the daunting challenge. ABB’s experience and leading-edge technologies for VPPs enabled it to provide customized intelligent distribution metering and coordination control technologies for multiple power sources and consumers in different industries. These include solar power systems, air-source heat pumps, civil and industrial air-conditioning units, and EV charging stations.

ABB has deployed a range of intelligent instruments and digital equipment, such as the IM300 multifunction meters and EKIP UP devices – digital switchgear units for monitoring, protection and control. These are used to monitor various electrical and environmental parameters, such as temperatures across the power distribution system. This information is used to ensure efficient power management strategies, including peak shaving and load transfer.

At the same time, co-ordination control technologies have been deployed in the offices of Jibei Electric, to automatically govern the operation of interconnected air-conditioning units and rapidly reduce electrical load without compromising user comfort.

According to Jibei Electric Power, this project will serve as a demonstration ‘use case’ of the IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) virtual power plant standard. The project’s success has been dependent on the advanced, digital and intelligent technologies of ABB and the close co-operation of Jibei Electric. The resulting IOTIPS-based innovation platform enables real-time interaction between adjustable resources and power systems to create a smart grid that delivers many benefits including energy saving and efficiency improvements.

James Zhao, Lead Business Manager, Electrification, ABB China, added: “The virtual power plant project demonstrates Jibei Electric Power’s full confidence in ABB and high recognition for ABB’s power management technologies.”

About ABB

ABB is a leading global technology company that energizes the transformation of society and industry to achieve a more productive, sustainable future. By connecting software to its electrification, robotics, automation and motion portfolio, ABB pushes the boundaries of technology to drive performance to new levels. With a history of excellence stretching back more than 130 years, ABB’s success is driven by about 110,000 talented employees in over 100 countries.