PROJECT | Staff Reporter, Japan

TEPCO eyes virtual power plant project with Sunverge Energy

Sunverge Energy has installed "dozens" of energy storage units.

Japan's Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) has tapped Sunverge Energy to deploy dozens of energy storage units at geographically dispersed locations across its service territory while managing them as a single virtual node on the grid. The net aggregated power flow at the virtual node level is controlled through coordinated operations at the individual unit level based on the predicted load, PV generation and available storage capacity.

This project will demonstrate how centrally managed distributed resources on Japan’s electric grid can help ensure greater reliability, an issue that has received widespread attention following the Great East Japan Earthquake of March 2011. Connecting multiple separate storage units into a Virtual Power Plant (VPP) managed by Sunverge’s energy management platform provides the grid operator with a comprehensive energy control system – one that adjusts within 15 minutes (or less) of major changes in demand.

The Sunverge project, operated in cooperation with Mitsui & Co., Ltd., will demonstrate several important use cases related to this reliability goal.

Sunverge’s energy management platform provides the comprehensive energy control system required for the operation of the VPP. By using a highly accurate energy management system, the VPP will function as an adjustment and supply source of the energy, addressing the demand for increased grid reliability.

VPPs have the backing of the government, which wants renewables to account for at least 20 percent of Japan’s power generation in 2030. The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry has so far designated a total of 7 billion yen ($59.4 million) in subsidies for VPP development in fiscal years 2016 to 2017.

“The ability to aggregate and manage distributed energy resources as a fleet and combining and managing a logical subset and grouping as a virtual nanogrid is increasingly important in order to make the grid more stable, resilient and dynamic,” said Sunverge CEO Martin Milani. “When aggregated, renewables can contribute a significant portion of a country’s energy generation without significant investment.”

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