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Japan's Disaster Resilient Smart Energy Economy


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This is based on my presentation at Drive Oregon on September 29, 2016.

Japan's Earthquake, Tsunami, and Meltdown Tragedy of 2011 has given rise to smarter energy future where disaster resilience is an affordable byproduct.

Published in: Environment

Japan's Disaster Resilient Smart Energy Economy

  1. 1. Disaster Resilience can be an affordable byproduct of a Smart Energy Future. Dan Bihn, Engineer-Storyteller October 2016
  2. 2. In case you missed all the tweets… …Smart Energy has been happening in Japan for a while.
  3. 3. Disaster Resilience is technically easy to build… Having Disaster Resilience pay its way on a daily basis is the challenge Japan may have figured it out
  4. 4. = Grid Connected EVs Smart Homes Meaningful Prices Disaster Resilience New Businesses
  5. 5. If you decide to build a house in Japan today…
  6. 6. You will be asked, How smart would you like it to be?
  7. 7. How much solar would you like?
  8. 8. Would you like a fuel cell to generate electricity and heat your bath water?
  9. 9. Would you like a lithium-ion battery that can power your home for 3 days if disaster strikes and help reduce your electricity cost on a daily basis…
  10. 10. … by charging it at night for 6¢/kWh. …and sometimes selling it back to the utility in the afternoon for 25¢/kWh?
  11. 11. And would you like that battery to be your car?
  12. 12. How did Japan get to the point where disaster resilience can actually pay for itself on day-to-day basis?
  13. 13. Natural Disasters are Part of Japanese History and Culture
  14. 14. September 1st, 1923 The Great Kanto Earthquake About 150,000 people died – mostly in the ensuing fire storm.
  15. 15. September 1st became Disaster Prevention Day. Companies and communities often have hands-on fire drills. My friend Sugawara-san demonstrates that it is serious business, but fun too. It’s a part of life.
  16. 16. Just Before the Triple Disaster March 11, 2011 (“3-11”) Earthquake, Tsunami, Fukushima
  17. 17. This is how Japan made its electricity. Type Annual Energy Peak Capacity Nuclear 29.2% 20.2% Natural Gas 29.4% 25.5% Coal 24.7% 15.7% Oil 7.6% 19.1% Hydro 7.3% 8.6% Pumped Hydro -0.7% 10.6%
  18. 18. The aggregate consumption of electricity for Tokyo on a summer day On a typical summer day, Tokyo’s electricity use pattern looks like this. Note the notch at noon. That’s when most offices in Japan play music or ring a bell signaling its time for lunch. Energy-conscious employees turn off lights and computer monitors. And the region’s electricity usage drops 5%. Really.
  19. 19. This hand-drawn graph shows how Japan generated and used electricity before the disaster. Roughly 30% Nuclear, 30% Natural Gas, 25% Coal, 7% Oil, 8% Hydro.
  20. 20. When the sun came up on March 11th, 2011, Japan was planning on increasing its dependence on nuclear power from 30% to 50% by 2030.
  21. 21. At 2:46PM on Friday, March 11, 2011, a magnitude 9.0 earthquake struck 70 miles off the coast of northern Japan causing several deaths and triggering the immediate collapse of the power grid in northern Japan. 30 to 90 minutes later, tsunami waves came ashore killing 20,000 people and triggering the meltdown of 3 of Japan’s 54 nuclear reactors.
  22. 22. Immediate Grid collapse
  23. 23. Blackout Area 4PM March 11, 2011 Before the ground started shaking in Tokyo, 230 miles from the epicenter, most of northern Honshu (Tohoku) had lost power.
  24. 24. 3 days later, the situation had improved, but the largest city in the region, Sendai, was still in the dark.
  25. 25. 8 days later, only the devastated coastal areas were without power.
  26. 26. But on the evening of March 11th not everyone was in the dark…
  27. 27. An experimental microgrid at this teaching hospital in Sendai kept some of the lights on.
  28. 28. The microgrid is surrounded by solar panels in the middle of campus.
  29. 29. Dr. Hirose from NTT Facilities shows off the part of the system that worked the best – the PV panels and batteries.
  30. 30. Down the street at Tohoku University, Dr. Tohji overlooks his small microgrid that…
  31. 31. …kept the lights on in his beautiful new wooden laboratory.
  32. 32. A grad student proudly shows the photos from the first night after the earthquake.
  33. 33. Before the disaster, 54 nuclear reactors provided 30% of Japanese electricity…
  34. 34. … today only 3 are running (October 1, 2016).
  35. 35. Providing electricity during the daily peak became a big challenge. Peak Supply Gap
  36. 36. One successful strategy has been to roll-out meaningful time-of-use rates that encourage using electricity when it’s abundant and avoid using it when it’s scarce. $$$$$ $
  37. 37. Ideally, the results would look something like this… … but there was a HUGE obstacle in the way.
  38. 38. Once-a-month this gentleman walks this neighborhood… …reading meters like this (patented in 1888 ). He sometimes uses binoculars.
  39. 39. The electric utility company knew exactly how much electricity you used each month. This used to be impressive. It was the best anyone could do… for 100 years.
  40. 40. Over the past 5 years, Japan has done an impressive job rolling out smart meters that wirelessly report consumption every 15 to 30 minutes. Now the price of electricity can change throughout the day…
  41. 41. … higher in the middle of the day when grid supply is struggling, lower at night when there is an excess of capacity.
  42. 42. Time Rate (yen/kWh) 11PM à 7AM 11.82 7AM à 1PM 28.18 1PM à 4PM 53.16 4PM à 11PM 28.18 Summer Rates July through September Now a kilowatt-hour can vary from about 12¢ to more than 50¢ over a day. In the Pacific Northwest, we pay about 10¢. (Today the yen is trading for about 102.8 yen/dollar, so 1 yen is about 1 cent.)
  43. 43. Smart Energy Transformation
  44. 44. Prices are a good way to get people’s attention. But creating cool products can be a much better way to go. Q: What’s the return-on-investment of your iPhone? A: What?
  45. 45. In October, 2011 – 7 months after the disaster – Nissan showed off their Leaf-to-Home concept system at the biggest consumer trade show of the year. PV on the roof of this model home charges the car when the sun shines. When the sun goes down, power flows from the car to the home. No grid needed. Point made.
  46. 46. Dr. Tohji at Tohoku University was thinking the same thing for his whole lab.
  47. 47. Dan was delighted not to be in Oregon, so he could help out at the pump.
  48. 48. Smart Homes
  49. 49. This smart home has a home energy management system (HEMS) that manages heat, cooling, and lighting as well as the essential Japanese-style bath. These high-quality LEDs shown here are expected to outlast the home, so they are hardwired into this fixture making it smaller and more beautiful. When the LED goes out, you replace the whole fixture. But by then it might be time to replace the whole house.
  50. 50. Beauty is standard equipment.
  51. 51. The action character is optional.
  52. 52. April 1st, 2016 This is not a joke.
  53. 53. April 1, 2016, Japan deregulated its retail electric industry. Many pundits in the U.S. thought wholesale deregulation should be the first step (I think the Japanese government thought so too). But the utilities fought back so it didn’t work out that way. The good news is that with smart meters, the new electricity retailers are creating some really interesting products and services. A lot of time-of-use rate plans have emerged. The most interesting programs offer a discount for allowing the utility to control your air conditioner when you’re not at home. Integrating EV charging is next on the agenda.
  54. 54. Softbank is Japan’s #1 cellphone service provider. They now sell electricity, too.
  55. 55. Today you can choose from hundreds of electricity providers – up significantly from just 1 less than a year ago. Convenience stores, cellphone service providers, gasoline companies, travel companies, small towns.
  56. 56. So what?
  57. 57. Buy low, sell high. Charge off-peak, discharge on-peak. Dynamic pricing is unlocking the value of battery storage – stationary and mobile. Batteries are sold as a way to save money. And, by the way, they are very useful in case of disaster. So….
  58. 58. Grid (or Home) connected electric vehicles (V2G and V2H), plus….
  59. 59. Smart Homes, plus…
  60. 60. Meaningful electricity pricing, equals…
  61. 61. New business opportunities, and…
  62. 62. Disaster Resilience.
  63. 63. = Grid Connected EVs Smart Homes Meaningful Prices Disaster Resilience New Businesses
  64. 64. Disaster Resilience is an affordable byproduct of a smart energy future. “Fill it up with sunshine, please.”