Following Fukushima Disaster, Japan Is Building Its First Microgrid Community

Following Fukushima Disaster, Japan Is Building Its First Microgrid Community

Following the 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster in Japan, one city decided to transition to a clean, renewable future and became Japan’s first microgrid community.

Drawing on the benefits of renewable energy generation and off-the-grid capabilities of a microgrid infrastructure, the Japanese city of Higashimatsushima is developing the country’s first microgrid community which will serve at least 85 families that lost their homes four years ago during the Fukushima disaster.

Developers of the community are pursuing further ambitious goals, including becoming a Zero Net Energy City by 2022, which will require further resource assessments, investments in appropriate technologies, becoming more resource-efficient, and more.

This microgrid community is a joint project between the city and Sekisui House, Japan’s leading house developer, with research funding from the Ministry of Environment. The community consists of 70 detached, single-family homes and 15 multifamily apartment buildings.

There are three PV systems in this community: a 400-kW PV system over a reservoir, a 60-kW system on the apartment buildings, and a 10-kW system at the assembly hall, which serves as a community-gathering place in case of emergencies. Any excess electricity generated from these PV systems during the day will be stored in the battery system and used at night.

When disconnected from the traditional grid, the town can supply three days’ worth of everyday energy needs for residents and buildings in the town. During a prolonged power failure, the town can still provide minimum energy needs for the hospitals and assembly hall.

With a Community Energy Management System (CEMS), the city can monitor electricity consumption and generation data via individual smart meters, manage energy storage system for peak-demand shaving, and bill customers. During emergencies, the system will start the biodiesel generator and control and balance energy needs with solar and energy storage.

In general, Team Gemini follows a similar approach to structuring energy procurement within its projects—where applicable, a microgrid system will be designed and deployed to make communities energy-independent in case disasters occur. Control and monitoring systems (such as from ABB) are used to keep close watch on every component and maximize performance and uptime. Energy efficiencies will be thoroughly designed and implemented, and include generation of electricity, thermal energy, water treatment and recycling, and more, through as many renewable sources as possible. This is achieved through components like Combined Heat and Power Units (2G ENERGY), Membrane Bioreactors (A3-USA), and Anaerobic Digesters (enCO2).

To learn more about just some of Team Gemini’s technologies that enable fully renewable communities, visit http://teamgemini.us/technologies/. And subscribe to our RSS feed or follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay in the loop about future updates.

For the original article on the town’s microgrid development, you can check out this link.