Mitsubishi Electric Corporation (6503.T) announced that it will invest a total of 7 billion yen (US$75.5 million) by March 2012 to establish advanced smart grid technologies at the company's production sites in Japan.
Mitsubishi Electric will build experimental facilities at the company's three Japanese domestic production sites located in Amagasaki, Wakayama and Ofuna. The facilities will all be connected by a wide-area communication network and be remotely monitored.
At the Amagasaki site, located in Hyogo Prefecture, Mitsubishi Electric will install a 4-megawatt photovoltaic system, a 500-kilowatt rechargeable battery for transmission purposes, a power system simulator, power system stabilizer, 150 smart meters, an electric vehicle charging station and other related equipment. Advance Metering Infrastructure, advanced energy management and distribution automation system, will monitor and operate the assets and equipment. The total system will be used to demonstrate the benefit of smart grid technologies in each sector of the electricity industry.
The company will also install a 200-kilowatt photovoltaic system at its Wakayama site, located in Wakayama Prefecture, and a demonstration facility at its Ofuna site, located in Kanagawa Prefecture. To demonstrate optimal energy management in private residences, the facility in Ofuna will feature a residential photovoltaic system, appliances for all-electric homes, smart meter, home-gateway and other network-connected equipment
By March 2011, Mitsubishi Electric plans to equip each site with the components and build systems required for the company to begin basic experiments. By March 2012, the company plans to conduct full-fledged experiments, including analysis of power supply when electricity generated from renewable energy sources flows into power grids.
Mitsubishi Electric aims to market smart grid related products and systems in the near future. The company's smart grid business will be carried out as a company-wide project spanning five business segments. In April 2010, Mitsubishi Electric established two project teams to promote development in smart grid technology. The Power Grid Project in the Transmission & Distribution Systems Center will be responsible for smart grid electric systems and equipment. The NextGeneration Energy Communication Project in the Communication Networks Center will be responsible for the smart grid communication network.
Mitsubishi Electric said it is targetting Japanese and foreign markets with its smart grid related technologies. For the European market, in particular, where a large amount of electricity is expected to be generated from renewable energy sources, Mitsubishi Electric plans to utilize its findings mainly to promote its photovoltaic systems business.
In regions where there is demand for the upgrade and expansion of electric infrastructure, such as China, India and North America, Mitsubishi Electric intends to focus on transmission and distribution equipment business. Meanwhile, in areas such as South-east Asia, where there is strong demand for "comprehensive smart community packages," including operation of electric infrastructure, the company will look into entering the market through participation in Japan Smart CommunityAlliances (JSCA).
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