September 30, 2021
Negotiations have begun for the establishment of a new corporation (tentative name: EX4Energy) to build and operate a dedicated infrastructure (tentative name: Public Power HUB) for the interconnecting of distributed energy resources (DER)U3 Innovations LLC
U3 Innovations LLC, IoT-EX Co., Ltd. and The University of Tokyo Institute of Industrial Science announced that they have started negotiations with power suppliers, retail power providers and system vendors to explore the development of a new interconnected infrastructure for distributed energy resources (DER), utilizing infrastructure technology for the protocol-free connection of IoT devices.
To realize carbon neutrality by 2050, it is forecast that the amount of variable renewable energy (VRE), such as solar power and wind power generation, will advance significantly in the near future.
Due to the inherent difficulty of artificially controlling the volume of power generated through VREs, operating conditions, such as demand-side equipment, must be actively changed to adjust supply-demand balance, and maintain consistent frequency in VRE-heavy systems. These demand-side devices, some of which will be produced overseas, will include a wide variety of electrical devices, including stationary storage batteries, electric vehicle chargers, heat pump water heaters, home and office air conditioners. These devices will be connected to the energy provider’s control system (Resource Aggregator, RA) via the Internet, and their operating conditions will be changed to meet the energy supply and demand of the power system.
However, in order for power suppliers to connect multiple demand-side devices to their own control systems, they must comply with unique connection specifications for each respective device. Furthermore, isolating and responding to failures caused by connected demand-side devices and software creates further complications, and has been a heavy burden for energy providers.
In April 2019, IoT-EX implemented “IoT-HUB”, an infrastructure that connects various IoT devices without relying on individual protocols (protocol-free), enabled by research conducted by the Institute of Industrial Science, the University of Tokyo.
Since then, U3I, IoT-EX, and the University of Tokyo's Institute of Industrial Science have aimed to utilize IoT-HUB in order to stabilize the electric power systems of the future. After repeated discussions with energy service providers and R&D, the University of Tokyo and IES have confirmed the viability of the Public Power HUB, and deem it appropriate for investment from players in the energy industry, and become beneficiaries of this new demand-side power system.
Generally, such activities include the creation of a PoC (Proof of Concept) and the establishment of a council before founding a corporation. However, in light of the fact that decarbonization is an urgent global issue that requires large-scale implementation of VRE, we have decided to start outlining the establishment of a new company. The new company is expected to be finalized by the end of the year, and will aim to commence operations in the next fiscal year. The new company plans to build an IoT-HUB dedicated to the Public Power HUB as soon as possible, then establish an operational structure and launch commercial services within a few months. The IoT-HUB can operate anywhere in the world as long as it has Internet access, so locations outside of Japan, such as EU and North America are also being considered.
U3I, IoT-EX, and the University of Tokyo Institute of Industrial Science will continue to research and develop, study, and devise the technologies and know-how we use for the new corporation, then will provide them.
U3I, IoT-EX, and the University of Tokyo Institute of Industrial Science will continue its research and development into this new service. The alliance will also monitor its progress, devising and then providing the knowledge and technology required for the new corporation. Discussions with a number of interested parties have already begun, and the alliance of stakeholders look forward to the participation of resource aggregators and other companies in the energy industry who are interested in this project.
Image of utilization of Public Power HUB in demand-side power system
(RA: Resource Aggregator)
■About U3 Innovations LLC
Location: Marunouchi Trust Tower Main Building 20F, 1-8-3 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Representatives: Co-representative Junko Takeuchi, Tsuyoshi Ito
Business description: In addition to the planning and operation of the "Environmental Energy Innovation Community," which aims to build a startup ecosystem in the environmental energy field, and the "New Industry Creation Program," which works with startups and large companies to create new industries related to social infrastructure, the company promotes innovation by investing in and assisting in the management of startups.
Date of establishment: October 1, 2018
■About IoT-EX Co., Ltd.
Location: 3rd floor, Kanda Business Cube, 5-1 Kanda Toyama-cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Representatives: Representative Director Yoshihiro Obata, Atsushi Matsumura
Business description: Telecommunications business based on the Telecommunications Business Act, IoT connection support business
Date of establishment: April 1, 2019
Business start date: May 1, 2019 (notified telecommunications carrier)
■About Institute of Industrial Science, The University of Tokyo
Location: 4-6-1 Komaba, Meguro-ku, Tokyo
Representative: Director Toru Okabe
Description: University-affiliated engineering research institute based on industry-academia collaboration
Establishment: May 31, 1949
■Inquiries regarding this matter
U3 Innovations LLC: Joint Representative Tsuyoshi Ito (email@example.com)
IoT-EX Co., Ltd.: Representative Director and CTO Jun Matsumura (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Institute of Industrial Science, The University of Tokyo: Specially Appointed Associate Professor Hiroyuki Baba (email@example.com)
Lecture paper on IoT-HUB at the 2021 General Conference of the Institute of Electronics, Information and Communication Engineers (license number: 20TB0092)