Mitsubishi Motors Corporation, Tokyo Electric Power Company, TEPCO Energy Partner, TEPCO Power Grid, Hitachi Systems Power Services and Shizuoka Gas have applied as a consortium for a grant to cover the costs of the 'FY2019 Virtual Power Plant Construction Demonstration Project That Utilises Demand-side Energy Resources (V2G Aggregator Project)', for which a public offering was made by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) through its Sustainable open Innovation Initiative (SII), and the application was approved recently.

Experiments are being conducted at five locations within Japan from 3 June until 17 February, 2020.

In recent years, it is becoming difficult to maintain stable energy supply because of output fluctuations and surplus power generated by renewable energy sources (RESs), such as solar power. In order to maintain power grid stability, it is required to make flexible adjustments by power plants, however, it is expensive to maintain power plants just for the adjustments. This is why the construction of virtual power plants (VPP), which are new mechanisms for balancing the continual introduction of RESs with power grid stability at low cost, is gaining momentum.

The demonstration aims to balance the continuous introduction of renewable energies with power grid stability by using electric vehicles (EV/PHEV) as VPP resources. V2G (Vehicle to Grid) enables electricity supply/demand to be adjusted through a two-way power exchange between the accumulators in EV/PHEV and power grids. With commercialisation of V2G planned for FY2021 the consortium is currently examining viable business models.

This is the second time the six companies have participated in this project which was founded in FY2018 by METI through SII. The first time the companies worked together in FY2018, they constructed an experiment environment that enables a two-way power exchange between EV/PHEV and a power grid, and demonstrated this technology would be effective in contributing to power grid stability.

This time, approximately 40 additional EV/PHEV (for a total of 59 EV/PHEV) will be used to create the largest experimental environment in Japan. Furthermore, in light of the mobility needs of EV/PHEV, an attempt will be made to simultaneously control EV/PHEV parked at multiple experiment sites via an online system.

The consortium of six companies aims to promote the introduction of renewable energy and solve energy/environmental issues by effectively leveraging the accumulators in EV/PHEV.