IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - May/June 2015 - 47

of all photovoltaic (PV) output at a flat 32-37 ¥/kWh (as of
January 2015) has driven Japan to be the second largest PV
market in the world. The high cost of this policy has led to
some scaling back, and the program is being revised because
uneven renewable generation penetration has had an impact
on the megagrid. Japan continues to be a leader in climate
change abatement efforts and is one of the few Annex I countries to have made a voluntary pledge to reduce its emissions
to 25% below 1990 levels by 2020.

NEDO Projects

figure 2. The Hachinohe microgrid demonstration
involved the construction of an independent duplicate
distribution feeder. (Source: Chris Marnay.)

The SM was one of the four demonstrations funded by
NEDO shown in blue in Figure 1. The other three sites were
Aichi near Nagoya, Hachinohe in Aomori Prefecture, and
Kyotango on the north coast of Kyoto Prefecture. Achievements of these three projects are covered in this section,
while the SM is described at length below. These four sites
formed the basis of Japan's microgrid research but were by
no means the only activities underway in the country. Each
project had a somewhat different focus but all were conceived as technology demonstrations. While all achieved
some notable engineering success, none proved appealing
economically, and only the Sendai project continued operating after the official end of the demonstrations in 2008. One
of the program's limitations arose from a corollary to requiring each project to focus on one aspect of microgrid technology; that is, none involved the combination of technologies
that might bring microgrids as close as possible to viability.

History of Microgrid R&D
in Japan from 2000 to 2011
Introduction
Japan was heavily involved in microgrid
research beginning around 2000, as
shown in Figure 1. The motives for
microgrid development were mixed
but of particular importance was that
microgrids were seen as a vehicle for
achieving high renewable penetration in
electricity supply. This was a critical goal
for Japan, which has a history of high
energy import dependency and leadership
in attempts at climate change mitigation.
The Kyoto Protocol officially came into
force in 2005, and the years leading up to
this date were ones in which policy makers actively sought technologies to make
carbon emission reductions possible and
economical. Since the opportunities for
large-scale renewable generation are limited in land-poor Japan, the emphasis on
smaller-scale distributed alternatives was
natural. The well-known feed-in tariff
policy that currently mandates purchase
may/june 2015

figure 3. The Shimizu Institute of Technology Microgrid in Tokyo.
(Source: Shimizu Corp.)
ieee power & energy magazine

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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - May/June 2015

IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - May/June 2015 - Cover1
IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - May/June 2015 - Cover2
IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - May/June 2015 - 1
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IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - May/June 2015 - Cover3
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