Chubu Electric Power Co.,Inc. | September 2017 Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan Press Conference with President Katsuno - Press Releases and Other Company News(2017)
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Press Releases and Other Company News September 2017 Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan Press Conference with President Katsuno

September 15, 2017

Chubu Electric Power Co.,Inc.

  • Today I will be discussing Chubu Electric Power’s information and communication technology (ICT) usage initiatives.

Future prospects for the electric power grid

  • In fulfilling our mission of providing environmentally-friendly, high-quality energy in a safe, reasonable, and stable manner, Chubu Electric Power has been detecting/isolating failure early, in turn building a system that’s based on ICT to stably supply electric power from thermal, nuclear, and other large-scale power sources.
  • In recent years, smart meters and the Internet of Things (IoT) have been developing in addition to the widening use of renewable energy and storage batteries. The electric power supply model is accordingly changing from the previous large and centralized power source-based long-distance transmission format to one in which a certain proportion is made up of local production/consumption supplies from small and distributed power sources, such as solar and wind power generation.
  • This change can be witnessed in power transmission and distribution systems called local grids, handling currents no more than 154,000 volts. Enhancing local grids will become critical in the days ahead.
  • As an example of local grid enhancement, I would like to talk about change in the use of 6,000-volt power distribution systems.
  • In traditional power distribution systems, electric currents flow in one direction from the power distribution substation to the end of the distribution line. It was therefore possible to maintain the distribution line’s voltage within an appropriate range by the voltage regulator installed within the course of the distribution line, and also by monitoring and controlling the substation.
  • With renewable energy and storage batteries becoming more popular, the voltage and current of systems will vary in future power distribution systems.
  • Considering this fact, the quality of electric power needs to be maintained by installing sensors into equipment that are connected to an electric power system, in turn visualizing and carefully controlling the entire system.

Chubu Electric Power’s objectives

  • Renewable energy, storage batteries, and other distributed energy resources are becoming widespread in the energy supply field, changing approaches to supplying energy.
  • Technological innovations prompted by the so-called Fourth Industrial Revolution, such as the IoT—which connects various items in a person’s surrounding through a network—as well as big data analysis and the usage of artificial intelligence (AI), are thought to significantly alter the state of business and society.
  • Chubu Electric Power aims to extensively and carefully observe changes in business environment and trends in latest technology, actively harness those changes and trends in developing service for customers, thereby strengthening/enhancing Chubu Electric Power Group’s business foundation and creating new business services.

Technological strategy system

  • To step up initiatives for such technological strategies, Chubu Electric Power established the Digital Innovation Group this past April. This Group is leading efforts in coordinating Chubu Electric Power Group’s human resources, technology, and other management resources to achieve synergistic effects, in turn promoting the creation of ideas and development of new business models.

ICT usage initiatives

  • I now present Chubu Electric Power’s key ICT usage initiatives.
  • Today, I am sharing the following from Chubu Electric Power’s key initiatives:
    1. Enhancing application of power distribution systems
    2. Effectively using, as well as locally producing and consuming, renewable energy
    3. Energy management service for households
    4. Assistance system for optimal operation of thermal power station
    5. Local service based on IoT application in utility poles

Toyota City’s Virtual Power Plant Project

  • I would like to share initiatives that focus on future power distribution systems.
  • The project will use energy management to adjust power demand in step with electric power supply sourced from Toyota City’s renewable energy, and use ICT to control plug-in hybrid cars (PHV), heat pump water heaters, and storage batteries, accordingly verifying if it is feasible to locally generate and consume zero-carbon renewable energy. The project is, so to speak, a perfect example of grid service.

Verification efforts aimed at realizing Connected Homes

  • We think the IoT would be increasingly applied to home appliances, heat pump water heaters, storage batteries, and the like in households, prompting the need for advanced energy management. Chubu Electric Power seeks to provide new service by leveraging such developments.
  • As one such initiative, Chubu Electric Power plans to start verification efforts this December, aimed at realizing a Connected Home: a house in which its items and the dweller’s lifestyle is connected to a network to enhance convenience in his/her living experience.
  • This verification effort will not only cover data of electric power usage but also collect and analyze that of indoor temperature and humidity, weather forecast, air conditioner capacity and so forth, optimally controlling air conditioners.

AI usage examples

  • Efforts are also underway at thermal power stations to use AI in analyzing big data.
  • Chubu Electric Power’s coal-fired thermal power station constantly monitors roughly 2,500 sensor data with alarm devices and systems to prevent failure in plants and in operation management.
  • We developed a system that analyzes extensive sensor data and both comprehensively and continuously monitors changes in plant conditions, in turn detecting potential anomaly signs early and maintaining optimal plant operation. With this system, we are engaging in verification efforts.

The Open Innovation initiative

  • I now would like to share Chubu Electric Power’s Open Innovation initiative.
  • To incorporate new ideas and innovative technologies from external sources, and also to speedily and efficiently develop services and roll out businesses, Chubu Electric Power launched the Chuden Open Innovation Environment (“COE”)—a website dedicated to the Open Innovation initiative—and the Chuden Open Innovation Laboratory (“COLab”), a service verification and development laboratory that harnesses ICT.
  • This June marked the start of three public program calls including the Smart Pole Project: an initiative for creating new local service by applying IoT to Toyota City’s utility poles.
  • Briefing sessions in Tokyo and Nagoya drew some 90 participating companies, giving us a sense of high public interest in the initiative.

[Summary]

  • Lastly, I would like to talk about future possibilities for electric power data usage.
  • Enormous volumes of data would be collected as the IoT becomes more applied in household-connected equipment. Analyzing that data would enable to see each household's energy use in detail.
  • Sharing energy data with data of healthcare, welfare, traffic, transportation, and various other service platforms could give rise to new service that caters to needs of individual customers and the entire society alike.
  • It’s also possible to create service in solidarity with administrative bodies. Examples include combining electric power usage and vital data, estimating people’s health conditions and lifestyles, and caring for senior citizens accordingly.
  • Using energy and various other data, Chubu Electric Power plans to keep furthering deliberations in order to create new service that offers a comfortable and convenient life for each customer. This ends my presentation.