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Home > About Toshiba > CSR > Past Highlight > Highlights 2010 > Green by Technology

  • Integrity Report I: Striving to establish a position as one of the world's foremost eco-companies
  • 1. Greening of Process: Manufacturing and other activities
  • 2. Greening of Products Energy-and resource-saving Products
  • 3. Greening by Technology Environmental and energy technology

III) Green by Technology; Environmental and energy technologies; Development of Smart Grid, the Next-Generation Power Supply Network; Addressing social issues: supply of stable power and mitigation of climate change

figure of construction of smart grid

Developing infrastructure for the widespread use of solar and wind power

Solar power and wind power are attracting worldwide attention as power sources with a low environmental impact. The Japanese government is also promoting the utilization of solar power with the goal of increasing its usage by around 20 times that of the 2005 level by 2020. The key to efficient use of these natural energy sources is the smart grid, the next-generation power network. Toshiba Group through its technologies for power system interconnection and system engineering is committed to contribute to the development of the smart grid.

Using natural energy with the smart grid

The smart grid is an energy management system designed to connect a number of dispersed power sources such as solar and wind power facilities to homes, factories, buildings, and other power consumers (end-users) via a power and communication network, in order to control the balance between power supply and demand. It analyzes and predicts power demand and power generation/storage in different locations by using telecommunications technology, provides power from the most appropriate source to the areas of demand and thus enables the efficient use of natural energy. The smart grid is also expected to play a pivotal role in providing a stable power supply and reducing CO2 emissions.

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Core technologies for controlling the smart grid: Maintaining an optimum balance between power supply and demand by use of μEMS (micro energy management system) and MDMS (meter data management system)

The future power system is expected to use a large number of dispersed natural energy sources for power generation, including solar and wind power generation, in combination with conventional power sources such as thermal and nuclear power. Natural energy is greatly affected by weather and other natural conditions. Therefore, the use of large quantities of natural energy necessitates the monitoring and control of power supply and demand, in order to provide a stable power supply within a given area. Toshiba is currently developing μEMS (micro energy management system) which will play an important role in such monitoring and control operations.

The μEMS is a core technology that controls the smart grid system and functions to maintain a balance between supply and demand by coordinating with power supply companies. It monitors power supplied from individual sources as well as power consumption within a grid, and checks whether any area is affected by a power supply shortage so that the shortage can be overcome.

Toshiba has also developed systems such as smart meter and MDMS (meter data management system) for measuring and monitoring power consumption within the smart grid system.

Smart meters are installed at locations where there are individual power consumers, such as homes, offices, and factories, to measure power consumption. Measurement data is sent to the MDMS at regular intervals through telecommunications networks.

Measurement data recorded on smart meters can be viewed on in-home displays by end-users. In addition to the amount of power consumed, in-home displays also present information on the amount of power generated by solar panels, the amount of power purchased, and CO2 emissions, and thus are effective in promoting awareness on energy saving in homes and offices.

In January 2010, Toshiba won a major contract from the Okinawa Electric Power Company, Inc. for the Miyako Island Microgrid Pilot Project Facility, one of Japan's largest power supply facilities controlled with micro-grid and smart-grid technology.

We will continue to provide environmentally conscious integrated power systems that use energy-saving products and systems, such as solar power generation systems, secondary batteries (SCiB™), building energy management systems, and LED lighting systems.

photo of smart meter (right) and In-home display (left)
Smart meters are installed in homes and offices in order to automatically measure power consumption. Measurement data is shown on in-home displays and sent to MDMS at regular intervals.
MDMS (meter data management system)
MDMS manages data on power consumption at any given time based on the measurement data sent from homes and offices.
μEMS (micro energy management system)
μEMS monitors and controls local power supply conditions and the power consumption of end-users such as homes, offices, and factories in order to maintain a stable power supply.

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Stable usage of generated energy Essential Tools for Solar Power Generation: Power Conditioners and Storage Batteries

Example of a solar power generation system
figure of Example of a solar power generation system

The amount of power generated from natural energy sources such as solar and wind depends greatly on weather and other natural conditions.

Power conditioners convert the direct current generated by solar panels into alternating current. Toshiba Group's power conditioners have the industry's highest level of conversion efficiency, thus minimizing energy loss.

Storage batteries are used to control fluctuations in solar power output caused by changes in the weather, as well as to lower the peak of power supply by storing power generated from sunlight. Toshiba has developed and commercialized SCiB™, a rechargeable battery with features including high level of safety, long life, and rapid charging. In order to meet growing demand, in March 2010, we began construction of a new factory in Kashiwazaki City, Niigata (Japan) to commence mass production in the spring of 2011.

The use of these products in combination with the technologies for power system interconnection and system engineering will enable Toshiba Group to contribute to the widespread use of solar power and the stable operation of the smart grid.

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Topic: Future vision of Toshiba Group; Aiming for an environmentally advanced, convenient, and comfortable community

Toshiba Group intends to further develop the smart grid in order to create an environmentally conscious “smart community,” with provisions such as electricity as well as water, gas, communication, and transportation. With a view to realizing this vision, we will continue to provide systems and devices for the smart grid as well as smart facilities, along with solutions that integrate these elements.

figure of smart community

  • 1 Power Conditioning System
  • 2 Building Energy Management System
  • 3 Factory Energy Management System
  • 4 Home Energy Management System

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Topic: Participation in mega solar projects

Solar power generation, which produces electricity without emitting CO2 and provides clean and renewable energy, is becoming increasingly popular around the world. In FY2009, Toshiba won contracts from the Japanese power companies Chubu Electric Power Company and the Tokyo Electric Power Company for the construction of mega solar power plants with a capacity of 7.5 MW and approximately 7 MW respectively. We also won a contract from the Okinawa Electric Power Company for construction of a solar power generation system at the Miyako Island Microgrid Pilot Project Facility.

In FY2010, we began commercial production of a solar power generation system for residential use. In addition to promoting the development of nuclear power generation and increasing the efficiency of thermal power generation, we will further contribute to the mitigation of climate change by utilizing natural energy.

photo of Taketoyo Mega Solar Power Plant of Chubu Electric Power Co., Inc.
Taketoyo Mega Solar Power Plant of Chubu Electric Power Co., Inc. (order received August 2009)

photo of Ukishima Solar Power Plant (provisional name)of Tokyo Electric Power Co., Inc.
Ukishima Solar Power Plant (provisional name)of Tokyo Electric Power Co., Inc. (order received November 2009)

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