Centrica’s distributed energy and power business, Centrica Business Solutions, has joined forces with the venturing arm of Japan’s largest power company, TEPCO, to deliver industrial demand response capacity for the Japanese grid.
From 1st April, TEPCO Ventures (TEPCO) will use Centrica Business Solutions’ award-winning FlexPond™ Demand Side Response (DSR) platform to provide the Transmission System Operator with flexibility services for the Reserve market in the Kyushu region, which has a significant number of both industrial customers and renewable energy projects connected to the power grid.
The deal will see Centrica deliver FlexPond™ under an innovative commercial ‘software as a service’ model that allows utilities to use Centrica’s proprietary platform to build their own virtual power plants (VPPs) and deliver clean demand side response capacity from a variety of flexible generation and demand assets. The cloud-based platform is currently used by over 150 of Europe’s largest energy users and has won awards for its capabilities in high-value reserve markets that require a response in under a second.
VPPs allow physical assets such as renewable generators and energy storage facilities to be managed as a single unit, providing an alternative to centralised power generation.
Pieter-Jan Mermans, global Optimisation Director for Centrica Business Solutions said: “We are delighted to be supporting TEPCO in their mission to drive forward demand response in Japan, harnessing the power of flexible industrial demand while securing a new revenue stream for their customer base.
“At Centrica we believe that one of our key responsibilities is to help our customers reduce their carbon footprint. Building virtual power plants that mitigate the need to build new fossil-fuelled plants is a key part of that so giving other energy and utility companies access to our software is an important way for us to support global decarbonisation efforts.”
TEPCO Ventures is working to develop advanced services for customers that will combine TEPCO's network operation knowledge with the advanced technologies of Centrica Business Solutions, and ultimately plans to expand its offer beyond Kyushu to provide transmission system operators all over Japan with flexibility services from commercial and industrial customers.
Shinji Akatsuka, President of TEPCO Ventures said: “It is a great honour for TEPCO Ventures to work with Centrica, which has a proven track record in Europe. We look forward to contributing to the realisation of a low carbon society.”
Japan’s future Demand Response capability is expected to evolve from today’s capacity-like reserves to frequency regulation and wider ancillary services by 2021.