Japan plans major storage project

Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) has announced plans to install a large-scale storage system at a substation on the northern island of Hokkaido to help regulate transmission of solar-generated power.

According to METI, at 60MWh the battery bank will be the largest of its kind in the world to be set up at a utility-run substation.

METI plans to draw from ¥29.6bn ($298m) in reserve funds left over from the fiscal 2012 budget to cover the installation costs

Regional utility Hokkaido Electric Power will install the system by the end of the 2014 financial year.

Japan wants to address the highly variable nature of electricity generated by utility-scale solar power plants, agovernment officialtells Recharge.

“The storage battery (will) stabilize the fluctuations,” says Takahide Soeda, deputy director of the renewable energy division of METI’s Agency for Natural Resources and Energy.

“METI is trying to expand the capacity for solar plants in Hokkaido (by) using the battery.”

Japan’s renewable energy capacity rose by 1.394GW between April 2012 and January of this year, with solar accounting for the lion’s share of growth, METI said this week.

Note: Updates earlier version of article to include further project cost details.