Toshiba to construct new biomass power plant in Omuta City

Toshiba Energy Systems & Solutions Corporation
January 28, 2019
Written by Toshiba Energy Systems & Solutions Corporation
Jan. 28, 2019 – Toshiba Energy Systems & Solutions Corporation (Toshiba ESS) recently announced that its consolidated subsidiary, SIGMA POWER Ariake Corporation (SPAC) has signed a collaboration agreement with Omuta City of Fukuoka Prefucture. Toshiba already announced that it has reinforced Toshiba Group’s capabilities for renewable energy generation with the construction of a new biomass power plant in Omuta City through SPAC.

“We are very happy to sign this collaboration agreement with Omuta City,” said Fumio Otani, corporate senior-vice president, responsible for renewable energy generation business at Toshiba ESS. “We aim to promote measures to increase the implementation of renewable energy for a sustainable world.”

1. Background of construction for a new biomass power plant

In the "5th Strategic Energy Plan" designed by Japan’s Cabinet last July, the renewable energy ratio in 2030 in Japan will be expanded to 22 per cent to 24 per cent, becoming one of the major power sources. Due to rising environmental awareness, expectations for renewable energy in Japan are increasing.

Under such circumstances, Toshiba has positioned its "renewable energy generation business" as one of the major growth investment projects in its five-year company transformation plan, announced last year. Following this plan, Toshiba ESS decided to build a new biomass power plant with SPAC last year.

SPAC owns and operates Mikawa Power Plant in Omuta, and they will construct and operate the new “Omuta No.1 Power Plant” and “Omuta No.2 Power Plant” as biomass power plants at an adjacent site.

In 2005, Toshiba started the operation of Mikawa Power Plant as a coal-based plant. Since 2008, it started generating electricity by co-fired wood biomass and coal. Toshiba retrofitted it to operate as a biomass power plant in 2017.

Toshiba has over 15 years of experience in the energy generation business and currently has six solar power plants, three wind power plants, one hydroelectric power plant and one biomass power plant, with a total capacity of about 80,000 kW. It will operate the new power plant by utilizing this abundant operational experience.

2. Synergy effect with other businesses utilizing renewable energy generation

As mentioned above, Toshiba ESS is strengthening its renewable energy generation business and will contribute to the spread of renewable energy. Toshiba Group has promoted “digital transformation (DX)" as one of the core future growth strategies, and the renewable energy generation business plays an important role.

For example, Toshiba ESS continues to do research and development for improving services such as solutions to optimize power generation plans and improve the value of power plants using digital technology and the data gathered at its own plants. Toshiba ESS already utilized the Mikawa Power Plant as a research and development base for Internet of Things solutions for power plants and is working on improving occupancy rates, thermal efficiency and optimizing operation.

It is also one of Toshiba ESS’s initiatives to increase the implementation of renewable energy. It aims to build its integrated aggregator service business and to provide stability in energy systems by optimizing multiple energy sources, such as renewable energy and storage batteries, with the utilization of control technology of a virtual power plant.

3. Contribution to local community

This April, SPAC will open a carport for electric vehicles that will be equipped with a four kW solar power generation system and storage battery. In case of power outages due to disasters, SPAC will release the charger for mobile devices, such as smartphones, for local residents, along with the existing solar lights with smartphone chargers.

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