POWER UTILITY | Karen Mesina, Japan

Here's what pushed Japan to explore virtual power plants

It is being pressured to accelerate the use of VPPs as renewables rise.

Japan’s venture into using more renewable energy is being threatened by headwinds in dispatching power supply as energy kept coming in. The marked supply-demand imbalance prompted the government and power utilities to explore virtual power plants.

Virtual power plant is a system in which electric power can be produced and adjusted virtually through integrated control over energy resources distributed on power grids.

"7 VPP construction subsidised projects have been adopted in FY2016 with capacity of energy resource at 19.1MW. VPP resources are operated through Internet of Things, as per the monitoring and controlling systems established by participants. There is an expansion of opportunites to use VPP service due to progress in electric power system reform and further increase in renewable energy. We will gradually improve and construct VPP system and promote commercialisation,” according to Tomoyuki Ueda General Manager,Regional Energy Technology Group Community Energy Division, The Kansai Electric Power Co., Inc.

This he revealed in a keynote session at the World Smart Energy Week 2018.

Business environment of utility companies are rapidly changing as well as a result of deregulation of electricity market, establishment of new markets for electricity value exchange, and development of new technologies such as renewable energy and battery. TEPCO, on the other hand, is also accelerating the implementation of VPPs and resource aggregation businesses through actions such as VPP demonstration of the Ministry of Economics, Trade, and Industry, and collaboration with companies overseas.

The World Smart Energy Week is currently being held from 28 February to 2 March at Tokyo, Japan. 

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