ITOCHU Signs Capital and Business Tie-up with UK Company That Uses AI Technology to Provide Services for Optimal Control of Energy Storage Systems
-- For building a distributed energy society --
January 29, 2018
ITOCHU Corporation (headquartered in Minato-ku, Tokyo; Masahiro Okafuji, President & CEO; hereinafter “ITOCHU”) announced today that it has signed a capital and business tie-up with Moixa Energy Holdings Ltd. (hereafter, “Moixa”), a UK company that operates a platform business which applies machine learning and other AI technologies to energy storage systems for general households. Through the capital and business tie-up, ITOCHU has acquired exclusive marketing rights in Japan for the Gridshare Client (hereafter, the “Service”), a service for general consumers that is included among platform technology software from Moixa (product name: GridShare). GridShare is software that uses AI technologies to perform optimal control of energy for customers in various layers, including general consumers, power producers, and power transmission and distribution utilities.
Moixa has sold more than 1,000 energy storage systems for general households, mainly in the UK. The company has enabled optimal control operation of distributed energy. For example, it controls multiple energy storage systems by applying software based on AI technologies and sells excess power to electric companies. GridShare can be connected and linked with various equipment, such as home appliances and electric vehicles, in addition to energy storage systems. In the UK, Moixa is advancing a demonstration project aimed at realizing optimal utilization of distributed energy in the future, jointly with a major electric company and other partners.
ITOCHU has been focusing on the market of energy storage systems, the core system for distributed energy, since the early days of the market. The company entered the business of energy storage systems for general households in 2013. ITOCHU has developed and commercialized the Smart Star, its own-brand energy storage system, jointly with NF Corporation. The company expects cumulative total sales of Smart Star of approximately 6,000 units (equivalent to 55MWh), primarily in the domestic market, as of the end of fiscal 2017. As the first initiative under the tie-up, ITOCHU plans to develop GridShare, meeting Japanese specifications, jointly with Moixa, and make the Service a standard feature of Smart Star products by around the summer of 2018, to operate optimal energy storage system operation services using the GridShare Platform (see the conceptual rendering below).
In Japan, the period for the solar feed-in-tariff scheme will begin to expire in 2019. This is expected to lead to an increase in self-consumption of power that is generated using solar systems and energy storage systems. Efficient operation of solar power generation and energy storage systems will be enabled by using the Service for analyses and learning of weather forecasts, in addition to forecasts of users’ power demand, power generation, and other elements, thereby ensuring optimal charging and discharging of energy storage systems. In the future, the Service will enable the operation of diverse businesses, including the Virtual Power Plant* (VPP) business and charge management for electric vehicles that will increase in the future.
ITOCHU has been involved in the supply chain business of materials and components for lithium ion batteries, the market for which is expected to expand mainly for electric vehicles, while expanding sales of its own-brand energy storage systems. Moving forward, the company will apply AI and expand the GridShare Platform business horizontally to overseas countries, as well as Japan. It will thus contribute to the efficient operation of renewable energy, stabilization of power supply, and building a distributed energy society in Japan.
- *Virtual Power Plant: An electricity business model for the future generation, in which distributed energy sources, such as scattered solar power generation systems and storage batteries, are controlled in an integrated manner as if they were a single power plant (virtual power plant), in accordance with the supply and demand for power systems.
Overview of Moixa
|Company name||Moixa Energy Holdings Ltd.|
|Headquarters||London, the United Kingdom|
|Number of employees||33 (4 full-time directors)|
Conceptual rendering of the GridShare Platform