Japan selects projects to develop large-scale storage batteries

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Following a call for bids in April from the New Energy Promotion Council, METI selected Hokkaido Electric Power Co., Inc.; Sumitomo Electric Industries, Ltd.; and Tohoku Electric Power Co., Inc. to undertake the projects, which are the country’s first attempts at introducing large-scale storage batteries into electricity grids.

The companies’ aims are to examine how well the batteries function with the varying outputs of wind and photovoltaic power generation as well as developing technology to optimally control and manage the battery system.

The aim of the projects, says METI, are to "(…) thoroughly examine the installation and utilization of such large-scale storage batteries in electricity grid substations as bulk power grids of the utility companies to see to what extent the amount of renewable energy can be increased for introduction, as well as developing and establishing the technology to optimally control and manage such batteries, considering the operational needs and conditions of the grids as a whole".

The projects

The first project, developed by Tohoku Electric Power Co., Inc., will install reportedly the world’s largest large-scale storage batteries (lithium-ion batteries; 20,000 kWh) into the Nishi-Sendai substation as part of a bulk power grid system.

"Based on the results of the project, the company will boost the capacity of the supply-demand adjustment function by around 10% in the Tohoku area and endeavor to expand the introduction of renewable energy," METI says.

The second project, jointly developed by Hokkaido Electric Power Company and Sumitomo Electric Industries, will install reportedly the world’s largest storage batteries (redox flow batteries; 60,000 kWh) into the Minami-Hayakita substation, also as part of a bulk power grid system.

Based on the project’s results, Hokkaido Electric Power Company and Sumitomo Electric Industries will cooperate to unify the technology and knowledge they acquire in order to increase renewable energy usage in the Hokkaido area.