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Press Releases and Other Company News May 2013 Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan Press Conference with Chubu Electric Executive Vice President

May 9, 2013

Chubu Electric Power Co.,Inc.

  • I’m Tomohiko Ohno from Chubu Electric Power.
  • Today I’d like to talk about our initiatives for the deployment and expansion of renewable energy.

Our initiatives for the deployment and expansion of renewable energy

(Chubu Electric Power's renewable energy development initiatives)

  • First, I'd like to talk about our work on renewable energy development.
  • Please refer to Reference 1.
  • Chubu Electric Power has been continuing to develop renewable energy as a means of diversifying energy sources and addressing the problem of global warming.
  • As part of our efforts to promote the deployment and expansion of renewable energy, we are currently constructing Mega Solar Shimizu, Tokuyama Hydroelectric Power Station and other facilities.
  • Also, our companies in the Chubu Electric Power Group are working on the development of solar, wind and other forms of power generation.

(Introduction of the Feed-in Tariff  System and Chubu Electric Power's role in this system)

  • Please refer to Reference 2.
  • Here, "No. of purchases" is an indicator of the trend in our purchases of electricity from solar power generation.
  • In line with its policy of deploying and expanding renewable energy, the government introduced the Solar Power Purchase System in November 2009 and the Renewable Energy Feed-in Tariff System in July 2012.
  • With the introduction of these systems, solar power generation in particular underwent rapid expansion. Purchases of surplus electric power for the whole of FY2012 totaled approximately 237,000, an increase of about 60,000 on the previous fiscal year.
  • With the number of purchase requests growing rapidly, we are increasing reception staff numbers in business locations and temporarily assigning other staff to reception duties. All departments of our company are working in unison to ensure that these purchase requests are processed efficiently.
  • Next, please refer to Reference 3.
  • This shows the certified output of solar power generation facilities by prefecture as of the end of January this year.
  • The region of our service area that lies along the Pacific coast receives large amounts of sunlight, with Aichi Prefecture in 3rd place. We see this as one of the areas of the country where progress will be made in the deployment of solar power generation.
  • As a general electric utility, we have an important role to play in the Feed-in Tariff System as a guaranteed purchaser of electricity from renewable energy producers.
  • We are steadily progressing towards our goal of reliably connecting the rapidly expanding renewable generation capacity from solar and other energy sources to the power grid.

(Problems for renewable energy)

  • Please refer to Reference 4.
  • As you are aware, unlike nuclear and thermal power generation, renewable energy faces the following problems:
  • Dependent on weather, wind quantity and other natural conditions, the output of renewable energy's output is unstable; this means that it fluctuates widely.
  • There is no easy way of adjusting energy output.
  • Please look at Reference 5.
  • We have used a steam locomotive to illustrate these problems.
  • I'd like to explain that the locomotive here stands for the power source, the passenger cars for demand for electric power, and the gradient of the hill for temperature and other causes of variation in demand for electric power.
  • The top picture, "In the past," indicates how things were previously.
  • Adjusting its power output to the gradients of the hills, the big locomotive pulled the passenger cars along, and the whole train was able to keep moving at a set constant speed.
  • Now, however, we are starting to attach small locomotives to the big locomotive.
  • We don't know when any of these small locomotives will produce power.
  • As a result, for the whole train to go at a constant speed up and down the hills just as before, the big locomotive has to adjust for the power outputs from the small locomotives by frequently increasing and decreasing speed.
  • However, the big locomotive is constructed in a way that makes rapidly increasing and decreasing its speed extremely difficult.
  • In this situation, it is urgently necessary to develop technologies that can, among other things,
  • predict accurately when, in what direction and at how many kilometres per hour the small locomotives will move, and
  • control the speed of the whole train, taking into account changes in the movement and speed of the small locomotives.
  • Please look at Reference 6.
  • Now I'll return to the topic of the large-scale deployment of renewable energy.
  • To continue what I was saying a moment ago, if we do not develop technologies for the prediction of renewable energy output and control of the power grid, then we can expect to see the following problems:
  • voltage spikes in the power distribution system;
  • surplus electric power production; and
  • fluctuations in frequency.
  • These problems can have a variety of effects, for example breakdowns or malfunctions in home electrical appliances and defects in products coming off factory lines.
  • We believe that the development of voltage controllers capable of fine control of the power distribution system, the prediction of solar energy output, output restrictions and the installation of storage batteries are necessary measures to address these problems.
  • To study these measures, we are involved in the planning of next-generation power network verification projects sponsored by the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy.

(Nationwide initiatives)

  • I would like to present two of these verification projects.
  • Please refer to Reference 7.
  • In this project, a group of 10 electricity companies, with Chubu Electric Power as the principal company, has been collecting continuous data from actinometers and other devices placed at 321 sites nationwide, and we have been using this data to analyze output fluctuations after large-scale deployment of solar power generation.
  • We are using these results to develop techniques for predicting solar power generation output. These will allow us to maintain the quality of the electric power reaching our customers.
  • Also, please refer to Reference 8.
  • In this verification project, we are developing the technologies, devices and so on needed for control of voltage spikes in power distribution systems and surplus electric power.

(Initiative in central and  western Japan)

  • Next, I would like to present our initiative for the deployment and expansion of wind power generation in the 60 Hz area.
  • Please look at Reference 9. This shows the nationwide connectable volume of wind power generation.
  • While large volumes of electric power can be generated from wind, there are considerable fluctuations in wind power output, and we must develop the capability to make the adjustments necessary to manage these fluctuations.
  • Electricity companies operating small-scale power grids have minimal capability to make the adjustments necessary for wind power generation, so the volume of wind power that they can accept is limited.
  • Consequently, Chubu Electric power and the other electricity companies serving the 60 Hz area are cooperating with each other to achieve the deployment and expansion of wind power.
  • Specifically, to ensure the capability for adjustment required to increase the connectable wind power volume, companies without the capability to accept connected wind power use inter-area connections to supply this power to Chubu Electric Power and other electricity companies with relatively large system capacity. This allows the connected wind power generation volume for the 60Hz area as a whole to be increased.

(Initiative in the Chubu Electric Power area)

  • Next, I would like to present our company's own initiative.
  • Please refer to Reference 10.
  • As part of our measures to address voltage fluctuations, we have installed power storage systems at distributing substations connected to Mega Solar Iida in Iida City (Nagano Prefecture) and other facilities, and we are conducting research into the control of voltage fluctuations.
  • This research aims to investigate ways to limit voltage fluctuations by controlled charge and discharge of storage batteries, with the batteries being discharged to compensate for reduced output when sunlight is weaker and charged when output increases.

(Easing of regulations on reverse power flow in distributing transformers)

  • Finally, please refer to Reference 11.
  • I would like to turn to the problem of reverse power flow, which can occur when renewable energy is connected to the power distribution system.
  • This problem increases the likelihood that applications for renewable energy connection to the system will have to be refused.
  • Under the current national technical standards, reverse power transmission via transformers at distributing substations is not possible.
  • This means that renewable energy connection to one distributing substation is possible only up to the amount of electric power used by the customers connected to that substation.
  • Let us assume that solar power generation exceeds the amount of electric power used by the customers, and that the unused electricity in the system flows in reverse.
  • When electricity is flowing in reverse, if a breakdown occurs at any point in the power transmission facilities upstream of the distributing substations, then electricity will be transmitted to the breakdown site. This may lead to damage to equipment and danger to the public from electric shock and so on.
  • For this reason, in cases where connecting a large volume of renewable energy to the power grid would cause a safety problem, we request limits on output or refuse connection.
  • In the light of this situation, the government is currently considering easing the regulations on reverse power flow in transformers at distributing substations if measures such as the installation of safety devices at substations are implemented.
  • We are currently considering what measures to adopt in response to any move by the government and how to reduce the limitations on renewable energy connection.

(Finally)

  • I have presented our initiatives for the deployment and expansion of renewable energy.
  • For renewable energy to be deployed on a large scale, numerous problems will have to be resolved, but this energy is without doubt a valuable asset for our country, which is poor in natural resources.
  • We intend to continue our steady progress on the necessary measures for output stability and so on to facilitate the incorporation of renewable energy into the power grid.
  • That's all from me for today.