14 Feb 2023

Hitachi Energy Innovates Solution for Pumped Hydro Storage Plant in Europe

14 Feb 2023  by   

Hitachi Energy has completed and handed over the world’s first static frequency converter (SFC) solution to VERBUND, Austria’s biggest power generator, to use modular multi-level technology in a pumped hydro storage application.

This innovation enables VERBUND to optimise the pumped storage process at Malta Oberstufe, a pumped storage plant belonging to the VERBUND’s Malta-Reisseck power generation group, which has a total turbine power of 1.5 MW.

The Hitachi Energy solution enables the 45-year-old pumped storage plant to switch its two pump-turbine units from traditional fixed-speed to state-of-the-art variable-speed operation. Instead of constantly running at the same speed, the pump turbines adjust their speed automatically according to grid conditions and reservoir water levels. This considerably improves the efficiency of the pumped storage pro-cess.

The solution enables the operator of the Malta-Oberstufe power plant to actively participate in balancing the Austrian power grid. Moreover, it improves the integration of more green energy, such as wind and solar into the European grid.

“This technology breakthrough is the result of a close and deep collaboration with VERBUND to enhance the performance and extend the operating life of one of its most important assets,” said Marco Berardi, Head of Hitachi Energy’s Grid & Power Quality Solutions global product group. “By making the plant more efficient and by stabilising the power grid, our unique technology and application know-how is advancing the world's energy system to be more sustainable, flexible, and secure.”

“The defining features of the Hitachi Energy solution are its low losses, robust modular design, limited maintenance requirements, and durability,” said Karl Zikulnig, Head of the Electrical Engineering Department at VERBUND. “Its inherent redundancy is also key – we need exceptional reliability and availability, as the plant is inaccessible during the heavy winter snows.”


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