Japan's draft energy plan focuses on renewable energy infrastructure, but power source targets left unchanged

The Japan Times

Japan will focus more on renewables as a key power source in an effort to curb the country's nuclear dependence, a draft energy plan stated Wednesday, despite maintaining the same energy mix targets as before. The plan, which serves as a guide to the country's mid- to long-term energy policy, stresses the need for resource-poor Japan to build infrastructure that will enable it to contribute to the fight against global warming through reductions in carbon dioxide emissions. Nonetheless, the government kept the same targets for its mix of energy sources as in the previous plan. In fiscal 2030, it aims to have renewables account for 22 to 24 percent of electric power generation in the country, while nuclear is intended to comprise 20 to 22 percent. The government hopes to finalize the plan, presented Wednesday to a panel of experts under the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, and seek Cabinet approval this summer, officials said.

Autonomous energy grids project envisions 'self-driving power system'


A team at the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is working on autonomous energy grid (AEG) technology to ensure the electricity grid of the future can manage a growing base of intelligent energy devices, variable renewable energy, and advanced controls. "The future grid will be much more distributed too complex to control with today's techniques and technologies," said Benjamin Kroposki, director of NREL's Power Systems Engineering Center. "We need a path to get there--to reach the potential of all these new technologies integrating into the power system." The AEG effort envisions a self-driving power system - a very "aware" network of technologies and distributed controls that work together to efficiently match bi-directional energy supply to energy demand. This is a hard pivot from today's system, in which centralized control is used to manage one-way electricity flows to consumers along power lines that spoke out from central generators.

Singapore sets aside $4.5M for solar forecasting, launches sandbox to test new energy


Singapore is setting aside S$6.2 million (US$4.57 The Energy Market Authority (EMA) said the S$6.2 million would go towards a research grant that had been awarded to a consortium, which would be led by the National University of Singapore (NUS). This group of partners would tap various techniques in weather prediction, remote sensing, machine learning, and grid modelling, with the aim to improve the accuracy of solar photovoltaic (PV), or solar energy. Technology innovation and investment alone will not guarantee a thriving smart nation, which also will need user-friendly public services and a population that is willing to accept the wave of changes. The four-year initiative would tap solar-related data generated from sensors installed on the rooftops of buildings as well as weather data from another network of sensors deployed islandwide by Meteorological Service Singapore (MSS).

Marubeni to launch Japan's first large-scale offshore wind power business

The Japan Times

Marubeni Corp. is gearing up to launch what it says will be Japan's first large-scale offshore wind power generation business. Tokyo-based Akita Offshore Wind Corp., an equity-method affiliate of the trading house, will set up 33 wind power generators at port facilities in the cities of Akita and Noshiro in Akita Prefecture. Marubeni hopes to start operating them by the end of 2022. The power generators will have a total output of 140,000 kilowatts, enough to serve the needs of around 47,000 households using an average of 3 kW. Marubeni plans to sell electricity generated by the project to Tohoku Electric Power Co. for 20 years.

Japan's solar splurge may result in cooler power costs this summer

The Japan Times

Japan's conundrum of peak power prices may begin to ease as the country's solar-power expansion taps scorching summers to displace fossil fuels. The resource-poor country, which has boosted solar capacity more than sevenfold since 2011, may follow a similar path as Germany, where electricity prices fell along with fossil fuel use during high consumption periods, according to Trevor Sikorski, an analyst at Energy Aspects Ltd. in London. "Japanese power system is starting to mimic exactly what happened in the German power system following its burst of solar capacity development," Sikorski said. "The summer demand peaks start to disappear, as solar powered generation meets most of the air-cooling demand that the country needs." German power for delivery during demand peaks lost half its value in the past five years.