In East Asia, Japanese multinational conglomerate, Hitachi has partnered with Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) and NEDO to evaluate the use of control technologies for energy storage systems in a test project on Izu Oshima Island.
The 1.5MW hybrid energy storage system is designed to address the challenge of integrating solar and wind power into the grid. The Tokyo-based multinational company is working with Hitachi Chemical and Shin-Kobe, lithium-ion battery manufacturer, to test the system on Izu Oshima Island, located approximately 100 kilometres south of Tokyo.
This development marks the second energy-storage demonstration project launched in the remote Izu Oshima archipelago over the past several months.
Growth in Japan’s energy storage market
There has been a number of new storage projects announced in Japan over recent months. Apart from the demonstration on Izu Oshima Island, Toshiba and regional utility Tohoku Electric Power have announced plans to establish a 40MWh lithium-ion battery storage system at a substation in Minami-Soma, in northeastern Japan’s Fukushima prefecture.
Toshiba and Panasonic are Japanese corporations vying for leadership in the burgeoning battery energy storage market, competing with South Korean conglomerates Samsung and LG for position in the large-scale storage market, particularly where solar and wind power projects are concerned.
All four groups who make lithium-ion batteries have extended their operations globally, leading projects in the US and Germany.
Earlier this year, a consortium under Japan’s Ministry of the Environment (MOE) announced plans to use electricity generated by a floating wind turbine in Nagasaki prefecture to test a hydrogen storage system.
Another government-tied initiative includes an agreement between Sumitomo Electric Industries and Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) to provide the METI with a 60MWh vanadium redox flow battery system on the northern island of Hokkaido.
Also this year, Saft and Tepco agreed to collaborate on a containerised lithium-ion battery system, south of Izu Oshima on Niijima island, forming part of a five-year microgrid demonstration test.
Batteries used in EVs are also expected to be re-used in energy storage sector after its EV lifespan is complete.
In 2014, Japanese industrial group Sumitomo, begun operating the first energy storage system globally made of used electric-vehicle batteries. The three-year demonstration project was initiated in conjunction with Nissan Motor and the MoE.
The project uses discarded lithium-ion batteries to store electricity generated by a 10MW solar array in Osaka, a large port city and commercial center on the Japanese island of Honshu.