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Toshiba signs collaboration agreement for two new biomass power plants with Omuta City, Japan

In Japan, Toshiba Energy Systems & Solutions Corporation (Toshiba ESS) has announced that its consolidated subsidiary, SIGMA POWER Ariake Corporation (SPAC) has signed a collaboration agreement with Omuta City of Fukuoka Prefecture. SPAC owns and operates Mikawa Power Plant in Omuta and now will proceed to construct and operate the new “Omuta No.1 Power Plant” and “Omuta No.2 Power Plant” as biomass power plants on an adjacent site.

Stockpiles of imported biomass fuels, woodchips (left) and palm kernel shells (PKS) at a Japanese port terminal.

Stockpiles of imported biomass fuels, woodchips (left) and palm kernel shells (PKS) at a Japanese port terminal.

In November 2018, Toshiba announced that it has reinforced Toshiba Group’s capabilities for renewable energy generation with the decision to build a new biomass power plant in Omuta City through SPAC.

We are very happy to sign this collaboration agreement with Omuta City. We aim to promote measures to increase the implementation of renewable energy for a sustainable world, noted Fumio Otani, Corporate Senior Vice President, responsible for renewable energy generation business at Toshiba ESS.

Policy-driven opportunity

In the “5th Strategic Energy Plan” designed by Japan’s Cabinet last July, the renewable energy ratio in 2030 in Japan will be expanded from 22 percent to 24 percent. As a result, Toshiba has positioned its “renewable energy generation business” as one of the major growth investment projects in its five-year company transformation plan, announced last year.

The company currently operates six solar power plants, three wind power plants, one hydroelectric power plant and one biomass power plant, with a total electrical capacity of about 80 MW

Following this plan, Toshiba ESS decided to build a new biomass power plant with SPAC last year. SPAC owns and operates the Mikawa Power Plant in Omuta, a 50 MWe coal-to biomass retrofit. In 2005, Toshiba started the operation of Mikawa Power Plant as a coal-based plant.

Since 2008, it started generating electricity by co-fired wood biomass and coal. Toshiba retrofitted it to operate as a biomass power plant in 2017.

Two 22 MW biomass power units

With the new agreement, SPAC will now proceed to construct and operate the new biomass-fired “Omuta No.1 Power Plant” and “Omuta No.2 Power Plant” on an adjacent site. Each plant will have 22 MWe capacity. The type(s) of biomass fuel to be used have not been specified.

Construction of the estimated JPY 20 billion (≈ US$182.4 million) project is scheduled to begin in the latter half of 2019 and be completed in Spring 2022.

Toshiba ESS is strengthening its renewable energy generation business and will contribute to the spread of renewable energy. Toshiba Group has promoted “digital transformation (DX)” as one of the core future growth strategies, and the renewable energy generation business plays an important role.

Sigma Power Ariake Corporation (SPAC) 50 MWe Mikawa Power Plant (photo courtesy Toshiba).

Sigma Power Ariake Corporation (SPAC) 50 MWe Mikawa Power Plant (photo courtesy Toshiba).

Toshiba ESS already utilized the Mikawa Power Plant as a research and development base for the Internet of Things (IoT) solutions for power plants and is working on improving occupancy rates, thermal efficiency and optimizing operation.

It also aims to build its integrated aggregator service business and to provide stability in energy systems by optimizing multiple energy sources, such as renewable energy, hydrogen and storage batteries, with the utilization of control technology of a virtual power plant.

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