Mitsubishi Electric Corp. has begun full-scale tests of smart grid and related smart-community technologies at the company’s production sites in Japan. The aim of the project is to develop and test products including commercial systems, equipment and solutions for annual sales worth 1.3 trillion yen (about $US17 billion) by March 2016.

Through the project, Mitsubishi Electric intends to contribute to sustainable low-carbon societies establishing an economic and highly-reliable power grid. At the same time, the company aims to provide society with a system that enables consumers to visualize and control electricity consumption for optimized energy use. The project also focuses on the development of robust energy infrastructure that offers continuity in emergency situations, in the wake of the Great East Japan Earthquake.

Since May 2010, the company had been developing smart-grid infrastructure worth about 7 billion yen, including systems for supply and demand management, next-generation distribution management, advanced metering and energy management. The full-scale testing will focus on four main areas:

  • Demand-supply balancing: technologies and algorithm to manage a large amount of renewable energy connected to the power grid.
  • Distribution network management: technologies and equipment for voltage control, to prevent instability caused by a large number of photovoltaic systems installed in buildings and residences.
  • Total grid operation for the future: comprehensive evaluation of an envisioned environment in 2020, when a large volume of renewable energy will be connected to the network and electricity demand will be aggregated in communities.
  • Specific operation: technologies for independent micro grid such as island or partially connected regions.

The tests will also focus on the verification of smart grid technologies performances in very severe conditions for the power system including loss of part of the grid by earthquake, lightning and other weather related events.