Building a low carbon society Smart Grid

Interesting “Technology world”


Energy measures require social approach.

In order to prevent global warming, what I can do.

"Turn off not utilize electricity", "Switch air conditioners to energy save mode", "GO by bicycle to nearby shopping, without using a car", ···. Few ideas come up to mind. However, internet and Smartphone are widely spreading and in the progress of information society, energy consumption is increasing. Energy consumption of IT equipments 7 items (Note 1) , which are indicative of energy consumption, was approximately 76 billion kWh/year in 2010, and in 2025 it will tremendously increase to the double, 150 billion kWh/year, by some estimation.

Therefore, it is important for each of us, as an individual in society, how to reduce wasteful spending of energy.

(Note 1) IT equipments 7 items: Smartphone, PC/Tablet, Server, Storage, Network equipment (Router, Switch), TV and Display.

Key countermeasure against increases in power consumption

Throughout the world, energy demands in non-OECD (Note 2) countries are considerably increasing today centering on the BRICs (Note 3) where the economy is rapidly growing. While the advanced countries are making efforts to suppress energy consumption, it is anticipated to increase worldwide in the future.
The IEA (Note 4) estimates that the power demand in the world increases 1.2% every year from 2011 to 2035, reaching 1.3 times as much over 2011 in 2035. See the attached Figure. So, in addition to personal efforts of incremental energy saving for better future, it is required for every country to reduce wasteful spending of energy and to use it efficiently. The smart grid is expected to be a key player in energy saving.

Furthermore, a concept of "Smart community", which links a electric power network in a community and a information network in high performance, actually a work towards the realization started in local governments.

The smart community makes individuals easy to work for energy saving and significant achievement in the entire region can be expected.

Long-term estimates for demand of electric power in the world.
Primary energy demands in the world (change and prediction) Long-term estimates for demand of electric power in the world.

Source: World Energy Outlook 2013 (IEA)

(Note 2) non-OECD: Countries that are not members of Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). OECD members are advanced 30 countries.

(Note 3) BRICs: A grouping acronym that refers to Brazil, Russia, India and China, where the economy is rapidly growing.

(Note 4) IEA: International Energy Agency

Using IT to save energy

To grasp and adjust the clever use of electricity, it is indispensable to actively introduce the information technology (IT). For example,

  • A composite approach combining macroscopic and microscopic views is adopted to monitor electricity demand, thereby improving the accuracy of predicting the electricity demand so as to achieve an efficient power supply.
    In the afternoon of midsummer, by making cooling stronger in houses, buildings and factories in unison, electric power usage makes a big peak. By capturing signs, increasing electric power generation amount and calling moderate cooling through the media, these measures can be taken to avoid electric power supply to collapse.
  • Usage of electricity is grasped at all times, thereby enabling proper and individualized power supply in response to a rapid rise in demand.
  • A control center communicates with electrical meters in every home to get a grasp of the electricity consumption, thereby eliminating the need for patrol.

In this manner, due to the merging of the electric power networks and the ICT networks, not only stabilization and saving of electric power becomes possible but also users can select the suitable electric power supplier to their own lifestyle and the surplus self-generation electric power can be soled; thus mutual benefits can be enjoyed.

Toward the realization of a low-carbon society

Solar and wind power generation as recyclable energy are expected to grow in their supply quantity.

Part of electricity transmitted over a transmission line is dissipated as heat. By reducing this dissipation, the utilization efficiency of electricity is said to improve drastically, and this can be realized by innovative power devices such as superconducting cables. Thus, in the field of transmission and distribution of electric power, by improving the function, performance and reliability of devices and equipment, development of technologies to cut waste and achieve energy saving is being promoted. Furthermore, promotion of utilization by introducing FIT (Note 5) to renewable energy (the energy generated by renewable resources such as solar power, wind power and biomass), and spread of charging facilities for the next generation vehicles; these approach to achieve the low carbon society has already been started.

(Note 5) FIT: Feed-in tariff: The system, mandating power companies to purchase electric power generated utilizing renewable energy (solar power, wind power, hydraulic power and biomass) at a fixed price. The renewable power is expected to spread widely.

Smart grid projects ongoing in worldwide

In the United States, DOE (Note 6), as the center, is promoting energy related projects such as smart grid projects and green electricity network integration.

In Europe, FP7 program (Note 7) has been finished in 2013, and Horizon 2020 (Note 8) was started in 2014. Smart grid is promoted in this project, also many international cooperation projects are implemented. In non-OECD countries, such as China and India, smart grid related study has come to be implemented.

On the electric power supply system in Japan, its level is high even in the world and excellent electric power network is constructed. Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and NEDO, as the center, are promoting the smart grid projects for higher level of efficiency and reliability. In Japan, the primary energy is in high degree of dependence on oil, coal and liquefied natural gas (LNG) and most of those are imported. (see the figure below)

Annual supply of primary energy in Japan with the breakdown by source materials.Annual supply of primary energy in Japan with the breakdown by source materials.

Source: Energy white paper 2013 (Agency for Natural Resource and Energy.)

(Note 6) DOE: Department of Energy (in USA)

(Note 7) FP7: Framework Program
This is the study and technology development program for all areas that are performed by EU as the center, one period is set to 7 years. FT7 activity started in 2007 and finished in 2017.

(Note 8) horizon 2020: Formerly FP8 (The study and technology development program from 2014 to 2020.)

Technologies supporting the foundations of power supply and information and communications are provided.

The Furukawa Electric Group has a long history of being engaged in constructing the social infrastructures centering on power transmission and information and communications, and is provided with high capabilities in both hardware and software technologies. We are proceeding with the development of various solutions for electric power technologies, including superconducting cables that significantly reduce transmission loss, semiconductor devices and storage batteries that play an important role in stabilized supply of new energy sources, thereby making a major contribution to the building of smart grids.


3F Interesting “Technology world”
  • 01 Heat release technology
  • 02 superconductivity cable
  • 03 Next-Generation Automobiles
  • 04 Smart Grid
  • 05 High-Capacity Optical Communication
2F Until products are manufactured

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