ITOCHU Announces Construction and Demonstration of a Distributed Energy Resource Platform Linked with the Local Community

June 4, 2021

ITOCHU Corporation (headquartered in Minato-ku, Tokyo; Keita Ishii, President & COO; hereinafter "ITOCHU") announced today that it will work with VPP Japan, Inc. (headquartered in Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo; President: Tomokazu Akita; hereinafter “VPP Japan”), in which ITOCHU has an equity stake, and iGrid Solutions Inc. (headquartered in Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo; President: Tomokazu Akita; hereinafter "iGrid") to launch a demonstration project in June 2021 for building a distributed energy resource platform. The demonstration will be implemented at Tsurugashima Store and Kawagoe Matoba Store, supermarkets in Saitama operated by Yaoko Co., Ltd. (headquartered in Kawagoe-shi, Saitama; President: Sumito Kawano; hereinafter "Yaoko").

 In this demonstration project, the ITOCHU-branded Smart Star residential energy storage systems (ESS) and EV charging stations, in addition to solar photovoltaic (PV) generation systems from VPP Japan, will be installed to build a prototype platform for power generation and demand forecast and charge and discharge control. The platform will integrate information management and optimal control of the equipment.
The demonstration project will be introduced at supermarkets using this platform, aiming to achieve the following two outcomes.

  1. Building a power supply system, which increases the renewable energy ratio of each area by supplying power from the PV generation systems to other stores and general households, and which is resilient in power outage caused by natural disasters
  2. Realizing area-specific virtual power plants, which also serve general households around each store, by analyzing the store's power demand and combining the PV system, energy storage systems, and EVs to enable adjustment

The technology for predicting output, which is required for optimal control of surplus electricity from solar power, has been realized by integrating data on PV generation and equipment, which have been accumulated at VPP Japan, with GridShare, an AI-based optimal control function used for the Smart Star series energy storage systems from ITOCHU.

Through this demonstration project, ITOCHU will link the platform with the network of more than 40,000 Smart Star-series energy storage systems and the network of local supermarkets as customers of iGrid and VPP Japan, to build a business model that contributes to local resilience, including usability of non-fossil environmental value points and power interchange in local communities, as well as supply and demand adjustment and optimal charge and discharge enabled by using electric vehicles for home delivery owned by online supermarkets and electric vehicles from households.

VPP demonstration project to realize a business model based on local circulation (illustration)