Japanese grid consortium initiates technical development and standardization efforts


Tokyo, Japan — (METERING.COM) — December 14, 2011 – The recently established Digital Grid Consortium (dGrid) in Japan kicks off its technical development and standardization efforts with the establishment of a research center in Bunkyo, Tokyo.

The Consortium, a not-for-profit Japanese corporation launched in September, is partnering with  ORIX Corporation, NEC Corporation and National Instruments Japan to establish common interfaces and viable business models in preparation for joint development programs that will begin at the start of the 2012 fiscal year.

The initiative is headed by Rikiya Abe, professor in the Socio-Strategic Engineering and Investment Laboratory at the University of Tokyo, who has developed the Digital Grid™ concept, and established the dGrid Consortium to develop and make available the Digital Grid technology.

The Digital Grid is aimed to manage the grid with very high concentrations of variable renewable energy, and in essence enables the grid to be fractured into cells, from campus or building size up to metropolitan or state-wide, which are connected to the main grid. The Digital Grid uses power routers to connect each cell to the backbone, using an asynchronous connection so that power variations can be strictly managed. Each cell manages its own energy internally, storing excess energy, and replenishing energy from external sources in a managed, forecastable way. Each cell can also manage its own energy generation or storage investment as its own needs change. Electric power also can be transferred between cells using power routers, which specify addresses and routing using standard internet protocols and related information technology.

As such, the Digital Grid enables the utilization of high concentrations of variable renewable energy, and is able to utilize the existing utility infrastructure and transmission lines.

In addition, the Digital Grid is suitable for developing countries, where power infrastructure is not yet fully in place, by enabling the connection of local standalone grids, giving them the reliability benefits of wide-area synchronized grids, but without the need for such synchronization and centralized control. The Digital Grid technology can be implemented locally, and diffuses as each local area seeks to capture the benefits that the technology offers.

The Consortium is promoting its development program, and calling for new members who can help to create the standards and products to bring the Digital Grid concept to fruition. There are four working groups, for OS, hardware, policy and business. Members of the Consortium can utilize the core intellectual property developed by the Consortium. Each member can then build proprietary technology on this core intellectual property and develop products under license from the dGrid Consortium.