Japan’s largest thermal power operator Jera Co., Inc. is stepping into the storage battery sector, aiming to ensure stable supplies amid rising use of unstable renewable power sources and further expand its renewable energy output, Argusmedia.com reports.
Jera is 50-50 joint venture between TEPCO Fuel & Power, a wholly owned subsidiary of Tokyo Electric Power Company, and Chubu Electric Power, founded in April 2015.
Jera has started a demonstration project to analyse the use of storage batteries owned by domestic companies. The utility then plans to offer consumers optimal use of renewable energy sources based on data from the project.
The BESS Platform is a membership-based platform that provides services to meet user needs based on operational data collected from storage batteries installed on user premises, and is built on top of Jera’s IoT platform.
According to the results of a survey conducted by Jera, the main reason users install storage batteries is to provide backup energy in times of disaster, so the batteries have surplus capacity during normal times. Jera, therefore, is considering offering new services that enable users to optimize their own energy use by collecting battery operational data through the BESS Platform.
In the current demonstration, Jera aims to verify that battery operational data can be collected automatically, confirm that this data can be used to develop services that enable more effective battery utilization by users, and have users evaluate the services it develops. JERA will also work with battery manufacturers to develop a device terminal that can accommodate any type of battery regardless of specifications.
Specific services Jera will develop to enable optimal energy utilization include visualization of power consumption and peak-load shifting, services for which user demand is particularly high.
The demonstration will last about four months between November 2020 and March 2021.
“Renewable energy supplies, such as solar and wind power, are unstable. I think the technology development of storage batteries will support the expansion of renewable energy”, said Jera’s president Satoshi Onoda.
Jera has also started a storage battery project with Japan’s biggest carmaker Toyota. The two firms are working on technology development of a power storage system that employs used in-vehicle storage batteries.
Jera also has plans to phase out coal-fired power units with inefficient technology, use CO2-free ammonia as a power generation fuel instead of coal, build offshore wind power projects in Hokkaido and Akita prefectures and produce hydrogen from city gas to help achieve Japan’s 2050 goal.