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Special Feature
Newsletter "SEI WORLD" 2016 Vol. 468

Participation in the Virtual Power Plant Project

Fourteen companies*1 including Sumitomo Electric have launched the Virtual Power Plant Project, subsidized by the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. Amid ongoing electricity deregulation and electric power system reforms, this project aims to realize an unprecedented new energy management toward constructing an energy infrastructure for efficient energy use by the entire society.

*1
Including our company, the 14 companies are The Kansai Electric Power Co., Inc.; Fuji Electric Co., Ltd.; Sansha Electric Manufacturing Co., Ltd.; GS Yuasa Corporation; Nihon Unisys, Ltd.; NTT Smile Energy Inc.; Enegate Co., Ltd.; ELIIY Power Co., Ltd.; Obayashi Corporation; Kansai Electrical Safety Inspection Association; DAIHEN Corporation; Nature Japan K. K.; and Mitsubishi Corporation.

What is the Virtual Power Plant?

In the Virtual Power Plant system, by applying the internet of things (IoT)*2 technology to consumers’ devices (hereinafter called resources) scattered in the power system, the aggregator remotely monitors and collectively controls these scattered resources to restrain and generate power demand. Conventionally, the supplier side adjusted demand and supply of electricity by, for example, starting or stopping thermal power generators. In the Virtual Power Plant system, however, if excess power is generated, such as when the output of solar power generation increases on a sunny day, demands are generated by allowing the batteries in consumers’ devices to charge electricity. In the case of power shortage, on the other hand, the consumer side adjusts the demand and supply of electricity by discharging the batteries. In other words, the Virtual Power Plant system aims to construct a mechanism that functions just like an electricity generation plant (virtual power plant).

Eventually, this system not only enhances the capability of demand and supply adjustment in the power system, but also allows more renewable energy sources to be introduced.

Image of the Virtual Power Plant Project
*2
IoT is the concept of internetworking not only information and communication devices (such as PCs and smart phones) but a wide variety of things.

What is the role of our company in this demonstration project?

1. Construction and demonstration of the aggregate system for home resources

Our company constructs and demonstrates the aggregate system, which integrates heat pump water heaters and charging systems for electric/plug-in hybrid vehicles installed in homes, and controls such equipment remotely and collectively to restrain or generate demands for electricity.

Our aggregate system allocates controlled variables to each resource according to the command from the integrated server.*3 In preparation for the future quantitative expansion of resources, this system complies with a standardized communication protocol.*4

Request for power demand adjustment (from service providers)

2. Demonstration of the energy management system (EMS) in industrial resources
(in-house facilities)

We construct and demonstrate the system that can restrain and generate demands by integrating our manufacturing facilities and group factories and remotely controlling private power generators and large batteries such as redox flow batteries installed in these facilities.

What is the EMS?

The energy management system (EMS) takes a role in remotely monitoring and controlling redox flow batteries, private power generators such as engine generators and turbine generators, and the electricity flow in offices and factories.

*3
The integrated server allocates controlled variables to each server according to the transaction with retailers and power distributors, in consideration of the characteristics of resources.
*4
By using a unified language, resources from different manufacturers can respond in the same way to the command from the integrated server.

Overview of the Virtual Power Plant Project

Implementation sites

Equipment in companies and consumers mainly in the Kansai Area

Implementation period

From July 21, 2016 (date of delivery) to February 28, 2017

Services provided in the Virtual Power Plant

The aggregator will provide the following services:

  • ●For retailers, the aggregator adjusts power demands to meet an unexpected power demand.
  • ●For system operators, the aggregator balances supply and demand by generating demands and providing supplies.
  • ●For renewable energy producers, the aggregator avoids the suppression of power generation by generating demands.
  • ●For consumers and communities, the aggregator promotes reductions in energy costs and self-consumption of renewable energy.

Resources controlled in this project

As home appliances, home energy management system (HEMS), air-conditioning systems, water heaters, electric/plug-in hybrid vehicles, batteries, and solar power generation systems will be controlled. As business and industrial equipment, building energy management system (BEMS), factory energy management system (FEMS), vehicles, large batteries are the resources to be controlled.

Resources controlled by our company

For homes
Home heat pump water heaters
Electric/plug-in hybrid vehicles
For industries
Building energy management system (BEMS)
Factory energy management system (FEMS)
Large batteries

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