Sumitomo named for Japan storage

Power equipment manufacturer Sumitomo Electric Industries will provide a large-scale storage battery system for an electrical substation on the Japanese island of Hokkaido, to help regulate and expand transmission of solar and wind power. 

The vanadium redox flow battery, which will offer 60MWh of storage capacity, will be installed by around the end of next year at a substation run by Hokkaido Electric Power, the regional utility said in a press statement. 

Once the battery is installed at the Minami-Hayakita substation in the town of Abira, near the port of Tomakomai, Hokkaido Electric will test the system for a period of three years. 

In April, Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) announced plans to install what it described as the world’s largest battery bank, to stabilise the flow of solar and wind power into the grid. It is drawing from ¥29.6bn ($298m) in reserve funds to fund the installation. 

A METI official told Recharge in April that Japan is trying to address problems posed by the variable nature of electricity generated from renewable resources. The move was partly prompted by a flood of applications to develop new solar plants on Hokkaido since Japan’s introduction in July 2012 of a feed-in tariff system for renewable energy projects. 

In April, Tokyo lowered the FIT for solar energy to ¥37.8 ($0.40) per kWh from ¥42 over 20 years, but left its rates unchanged for other renewable resources, including wind.