ITOCHU Announces Start of Demand Response Trial Using Residential Energy Storage Systems

Aiming to avoid straining the balance between electricity supply and demand this Winter and reduce electricity procurement costs

January 6, 2023

ITOCHU Corporation (headquartered in Minato-ku, Tokyo; Keita Ishii, President & COO; hereinafter “ITOCHU”) announced today that it will sequentially begin trials of remote control of residential energy storage systems produced and sold by NF Blossom Technologies, Inc. (headquartered in Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa; Takazo Kojo, President & Chief Executive Officer; hereinafter, “NFBT”) in partnership with electricity retailers via its subsidiary GridShare Japan Corporation (headquartered in Minato-ku, Tokyo; Hiroaki Murase, Representative Director; hereinafter “GridShare Japan”). Through this initiative, we aim to optimize the electricity supply demand balance in the era of the large-scale introduction of variable renewable energy, and to reduce the electricity procurement costs of electricity retailers.

In Japan, regarding the state of electricity supply and demand in the winter of 2022, it is feared that there will be a supply-side shortage due to limited supply of energy and its price increase in Russia Ukraine situation and the life style changes since the COVID-19 pandemic. It is necessary for us to conserve electricity in ways that don’t require too much effort and take other measures. In addition, the introduction of variable renewable energy is accelerating along with the trend toward a decarbonized society. Since the output of these renewable sources of energy is dependent on the weather and other factors, it is necessary to adjust the amount of energy by using energy storage systems, etc. By utilizing the adjustment capability in advanced control of energy storage systems, it is expected that these systems will contribute to the continued increase of renewable energy.

ITOCHU will aim to avoid straining the balance between electricity supply and demand and ensure it is capable of adjusting its capacity utilizing the approximately 35,000 energy storage systems connected to the GridShare Japan network which optimally controls electricity using AI technology on a daily basis. To date, ITOCHU has sold approximately 55,000 residential energy storage systems in Japan. ITOCHU will implement the DR* technology to adjust the electricity demand-supply balance among our AI service customers. More specifically, during the times when the balance between electricity supply and demand is likely to be strained and thus, the market procurement cost of electricity is likely to rise, GridShare Japan will dispatch remote controlling of charging or discharging the energy storage systems according to the needs of electricity retailers. Participants in this scheme will receive reward.

ITOCHU has been operating a wide range of energy storage businesses and been involved in specific approaches to the solving of social issues. ITOCHU will contribute to the continued creation of solutions for the electricity industry in Japan and the realization of distributed energy in a decarbonized society through this trial.

  • *DR: Demand Response. Adjusting consumers’ electricity consumption to balance demand and supply in the power grid. It is also called as VPP (Virtual Power Plant).

Electricity Retailers that ITOCHU will form a partnership with

Outline of the Trial

This is a trial that predicts the next day’s electricity supply and demand and adjusts them using DR based on the needs of electricity retailers during the times when it is predicted there will be a shortage in the supply of electricity and market prices will rise.

Electricity retail Partners Tohoku Electric Power Co., Inc., TEPCO Energy Partner, Inc.,
Chubu Electric Power Miraiz Company, Inc.,
Kyushu Electric Power Company, Inc. (As of December 2022)
Target Customers who have contracted with GridShare Japan and Partners
(Application is required separately to participate in this trial.)
Scale A maximum of approx. 17 thousand systems and approx. 51 MW/167 MWh
Demonstration period From middle of December 2022 to around end of March 2023 (depends on each partner retail electricity provider)