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To create a low-carbon society, it's essential to increase the use of renewable energy. In Japan, a new feed-in-tariff system for renewable energy was implemented after the Great East Japan Earthquake, and the market and use of renewable energy have been expanding rapidly. In this climate, people have been waiting for revolutionary innovations for wind power generation systems.
The generator used in the 2000 kW class wind turbine was developed using technology that Hitachi has amassed over its 100-year history.
Interest in renewable energy has been growing with concerns about energy security and global warming. Especially in Japan, wind farms are seen as a very promising option, as the mountainous country does not have much flat land available but has vast areas of offshore territory.
Hitachi has been contributing to the energy field globally and has been actively working for the development and marketing of wind power generation systems to meet the growing demand for wind power.
In 2005, Hitachi developed a downwind turbine in cooperation with Fuji Heavy Industries, Ltd. and started its demonstrational operation near the coast of Kamisu City in Ibaraki Prefecture. This developed into the Wind Power Kamisu 1st Offshore Wind Farm with seven mass production wind turbines. The wind farm began operating in 2010.
Hitachi's 2000 kW (kilowatt) wind power generation system uses downwind rotor that were developed to work in Japan's natural environment with its mountainous terrain and weather that is prone to strong typhoons and lightning. The turbine rotors are on the downwind side of tower, so they can effectively catch upward blowing winds that are prevalent on the slopes of hills and mountains. In the case of a power outage, these wind turbines are able to be changed nacelle direction by the wind forth, like a weathervane, to avoid stress from strong winds. This safer design is also more cost effective, as it requires less material for the construction of the foundation.
The Wind Power Kamisu 1st Offshore Wind Farm has pioneered new methods for offshore wind power generation in Japan, and the many benefits of Hitachi's wind turbines have received positive reviews. The wind farm is currently generating 14,000 kW of electric power, equivalent to the power usage of about 7,000 households.
Hitachi is known for its strong IT capabilities and has integrated advanced IT into the offshore wind farm's power control technology and interconnection stabilization system. These help maintain a stable supply of electric power to the grid from wind power generation, which tends to be affected by abrupt fluctuations in wind velocity. Hitachi is expected to contribute as a provider of total wind power solutions.
Wind Power Kamisu 1st Offshore Wind Farm generates enough power to provide electricity for 7,000 households.
Since then, eight of Hitachi wind-turbines have been added to the "Wind Power Kamisu 2nd Offshore Wind Farm" near the coast of Kamisu City. Hitachi now has 70 of its 2000 kW class wind power generation systems in operation around Japan, generating enough power to provide electricity for 70,000 households. Responding to the expanding market, Hitachi built a new manufacturing plant for wind turbines in 2011.
In 2012, Hitachi acquired the wind turbine business of Fuji Heavy Industries, Ltd. and consolidated it with its own operations to provide total wind power solutions, including everything from power generation to distribution management systems that help ensure a stable power supply.
A 2000 kW offshore wind power generation system (photo left) and a 66kV offshore sub-station (photo right) in the Fukushima Floating Offshore Wind Farm.
Photo credit:Fukushima Offshore Wind Consortium
Hitachi also participated in the development of the Fukushima Floating Offshore Wind Farm Demonstration Project, a national project in Japan that has been carried out by a consortium of ten corporations and a university. Hitachi provided a 2000 kW wind-turbines and 66kV (kilovolt) floating power sub-station. This world's first 66 kV class floating power sub-station utilizes expertise and technology that Hitachi has accumulated from developing transformers and sub-stations. The project began operations in 2013 with a goal to confirm the safety, reliability and economic benefit of floating platform offshore wind farms. Hitachi's technology is expected to contribute greatly to the development of a successful business model for offshore wind farms.
The market demand for wind power generation systems is expected to continue to expand in the future.
The market demand for renewable energy is expected to accelerate from now on. Offshore wind power generation utilizing strong ocean winds has great potential for countries like Japan with vast offshore territory.
Hitachi has already begun developing 5000 kW class offshore downwind turbines, and demonstration tests are scheduled to begin this year.
Hitachi is striving to contribute to the creation of a low-carbon society through developing superior wind power generation systems.