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Stem and Mitsui to build energy storage virtual power plants in Japan

Stem and Mitsui are building one of the first aggregated fleets of industrial customer-sited energy storage operating in Japan.

With this network of energy storage systems, Stem launches its international efforts and establishes a foothold in one of the most dynamic energy markets worldwide.

The Ministry of Energy, Trade and Infrastructure (METI) endorsed Mitsui and Stem in a competitive solicitation to develop distributed Virtual Power Plants (VPPs) for grid benefit. Mitsui and Stem will initially deploy more than 750 kWh across multiple sites to form a flexible and fast-responding distributed resource. This pilot will help inform Japan’s plans to develop aggregated demand response resources as flexible capacity to manage the variability from increased renewable energy resources on the grid.

Artificial intelligence (AI)-driven energy storage generates value for Japanese commercial customers by reducing their energy costs and providing them tools for greater control over their energy use. Stem’s predictive analytics and machine learning, coupled with its Power Monitor and Powerscope user interface tools, provide the data and analytical insights needed for robust facility energy management. Stem captures energy data on a one-second basis, dispatches on a five-minute basis, and stores terabytes of data to the cloud.

METI will be testing deregulated services and markets as Japan undergoes a dramatic redesign of the country’s nearly-300 GW electricity market. In the aftermath of the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident, the Japanese government embarked upon the largest deregulation of an electricity market worldwide. The restructuring will promote renewable energy and help modernize the Japanese electric grid by introducing competitive services and flexible resources. Japan’s dense urban areas cannot easily accommodate additional generation resources, making customer-sited virtual power plants that leverage the real-time balancing and intelligence offered by energy storage particularly essential.

“Japan is known for creating futuristic technologies that benefit consumers and are leading to a sustainable society,” said Mitsui. “Mitsui chose Stem because of its software intelligence and proven network that helps customers and utilities benefit from flexible storage assets as a technology platform for grid modernization.”

Building on its industry leadership in Hawaii, California, Texas, and New York, Stem will use its experience with aggregated customer-sited energy storage to increase local grid performance. In this deployment, Stem will operate multiple sites outside of Tokyo for Mitsui and host customers, leveraging its VPP experience and AthenaTM artificial intelligence software. The first system is located at the Shinwa Kankyo Recycling Center in Yoshikawa City, Saitama Prefecture, in the service territory of Tokyo Electric Power Company.

“Mitsui selected Stem to deploy intelligent energy storage and analytics for customer and grid benefits around the world,” said John Carrington, CEO of Stem. “Japan is poised to dramatically scale its demand response market, and we are proud to have Mitsui as a development partner and investor.”

The initial sites within the virtual power plant network are the first of planned projects in Japan for Stem and Mitsui and a base for further Asian expansion.