Right now in Japan, individuals and businesses - that is, all consumers of electricity - are working hard to save power. At the Sumitomo Electric Group, we have adopted several measures for reducing and leveling power consumption: moderate settings of air-conditioners and lighting, additional or shifted holidays for manufacturing facilities in rotation, use of private power generators, etc. Meanwhile, this nationwide power-saving movement has boosted demand for certain products: electric fans have sold out in many stores, while power-saving LED lighting equipment and home solar batteries are selling well. Demand for home-use storage cells is also growing rapidly, as they can be used to level power consumption (storing electricity during night, when demand is low, for use during the day, when demand is high) and as a source of emergency power.
As for the power supply side, the question of resuming nuclear power plant operation has given rise to active discussions of power generation, many voices calling for expanded introduction of renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power generation. At the same time, power suppliers must for the time being find a solution to the problem of dealing with power demand peaks. Conventional power generation has used a water pump mechanism, but I think it would be a great idea to install large storage cells throughout Japan as "power dams" to maintain a balance between supply and demand. Needless to say, thorough cost and safety studies must be conducted before this idea can be developed into a credible proposal. Yet, with Japan's innovative technologies in a broad range of areas, I believe that the idea will not end up as a mere pipedream; rather, it will become a key element in Japan's growth strategy.
In addition, the disaster of March 11 has triggered new needs and changes in various areas. We have succeeded in developing a micro smart-grid power system, with molten salt electrolyte batteries and redox flow batteries as storage batteries. As a company with the word "Electric" in its name, we are determined to do our best to complete these technologies for the earliest possible practical application, to meet society's needs without delay.
In Japan, the summer heat is expected to soon reach its peak. I hope that all of you will take full advantage of your summer holidays to recharge yourselves, so that upon returning to work you can demonstrate your best performance in the spirit of the saying: "continue illuminating a small corner of society."