PROJECT | Staff Reporter, Japan

Japan's ENERES Co. inks deal to build storage-virtual power plant

The project anticipates adding more than 10,000 assets to the VPP between 2020-2021.

Japanese energy services and trading company ENERES Co. has teamed up with US-based software company AutoGrid to develop what is said to be the world’s largest storage-virtual power plant (VPP) by asset volume, an announcement revealed.

The project anticipates adding more than 10,000 assets to the VPP between 2020-2021, with rapid scaling in subsequent years.

Under the partnership, AutoGrid will supply ENERES Co. with VPP and customer engagement software to aggregate, dispatch and market energy from demand response (DR) and distributed energy resources (DERs).

The partnership will enable ENERES to combine DR resources into large enough blocks of energy to sell into capacity markets. The first phase of the project will begin later in 2019 and will result in a large, dispatchable DR portfolio.

A second phase will enable ENERES to deploy a full-scale VPP to aggregate behind-the-meter DERs, including solar photovoltaic panels, energy storage systems, combined heat and power (CHP) units, and electric vehicle batteries, along with DR. Using AutoGrid’s Flex platform, ENERES will pool DERs from its customers into a dispatchable virtual resource to participate in Japanese wholesale energy and capacity markets.

"As solar and storage costs continue to decline and new capacity markets open, DER and DR resources are becoming a key component of our daily operations," said Masahiro Kobayashi, president & representative director of ENERES.

According to AutoGrid’s CEO Dr. Amit Narayan, Japan is in the midst of a massive market transformation that requires much greater supplies of flexible energy.

Japan's energy market reforms continue to drive substantial changes in regulation. In March, feed-in tariff (FiT) for Japan's commercial and industrial solar segment was cut by 22%, with the expectation that the residential sector will follow suit after the 2020 review. 

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