The Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), has selected two firms to carry out separate projects aimed at developing energy storage systems for solar and wind power, according to Bloomberg Businessweek.
NGK Insulators and a group headed by Sumitomo, one of Japan’s largest trading companies have been appointed, with as much as 75% of development costs to be covered by the Japanese government until March 2018, although dependent on progress by March 2021, the companies may be required to pay back some or all of the subsidies.
If successful it is expected that the storage systems would also be considered for export to the global market.
The need for better grid-connected energy storage systems is acute in Japan, and the systems will help the Japanese grid system cope with intermittent levels of power. Currently there is also poor interconnection between the 10 regional grids, a problem which it is hoped trials into storage technologies will help solve.
Last week METI requested a clean energy budget increase of 62%, a substantial portion of which is expected to be put toward testing new storage technologies and grid improvements.
At the beginning of August Sumitomo was selected by Hokkaido Electric Power to participate in the trial of a 60MWh storage battery system in Hokkaido, expected to come online in March 2015.