Japan’s Chugoku Electric Power streamlines operations with IoT solution

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Chugoku Electric Power has partnered with IoT firms FogHorn and Energia Communications to optimise the performance of its hydropower generation plants and to enhance workforce safety.

Chugoku Electric Power is the sixth largest utility in Japan by sales, employs 9,200 workers, owns 114 hydropower plants, and will be deploying FogHorn’s Edge AI software at full-scale across its hydropower plants to enhance generation efficiency.

This follows a successful pilot of the technology in 2017.

As part of the pilot, FogHorn integrated its Edge AI platform with Energia Communications’ IoT communications network for secure, resilient and fast data telemetry between hydropower plants and the utility.

The system monitors issues such as current temperature and vibration for equipment control and monitoring in real-time. Such processes are traditionally performed manually and are timely, costly and inefficient, according to a statement.

The pilot was recognised by the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry as an “industrial security advancement promotion cost subsidy” in 2020. This means the technology will be used as a model for other utilities wanting to deploy IoT to enhance operational efficiency and to improve worker safety.

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Chugoku Electric Power says the solution is helping the firm to address labour shortages and to streamline operations through access to real-time data regarding the operations of its hydropower stations.

The solution detects early signs of equipment failures to mitigate issues, reduce costs and drive business outcomes, according to a statement.

Yuta Endo, VP/GM of APAC Operation, Business Development at FogHorn, said the solution is helping the Japanese utility to “address the long-term operational, safety and compliance goals.”

Endo added that the project enables Chugoku Electric Power to achieve sustainability goals by ensuring consumers are provided with green electricity at all times.

The development is part of efforts by the utility to accelerate its digital transformation.