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Expand R&D and demonstrations to accelerate technology development

Existing electricity technologies can be leveraged to meet a very large share of countries’ economic and environmental targets. Additional solutions must be developed for ambitious objectives (notably climate targets). Technology roadmaps, drafted jointly by research labs and industry, should set cost targets for different timeframes and allow them to be monitored. This is a more cost-effective path than rolling out solutions still far from commercial deployment. The GSEP’s report to COP21, Powering Innovation for a Sustainable Future, provides an overview and recommendations. In addition, existing or planned public policy examples which demonstrate this concept:

Japan: Virtual Power Plant demonstration project

Since 2016, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan has been implementing and subsidizing demonstration Virtual Power Plant (VPP) pilot projects. This programme aims to develop and demonstrate technologies to remotely control end-users’ energy resources and have them function as if they were a single power plant. The end-users’ energy resources that are used to help balance electricity supply and demand in this manner include storage batteries, electric vehicles (EV), generators and demand response measures.

The overall goal of the pilot project is to demonstrate the technology and eventually replicate and deploy it in order to reduce dependence on the conventional electricity supply system centered on large-scale power generators, utilize renewable energies more stably and effectively, and employ distributed energy resources such as EV batteries in balancing electricity supply and demand. Every year, the government issues a call for new projects and awards additional subsidies.

The following results are expected through this programme as well as the promotion of energy resources such as EV storage batteries:

  • increased installation of renewable energy
  • further energy conservation
  • improvement of load leveling

GSEP member Kansai has been leading one of the large-scale demonstration projects (up to 15 MW), involving a number of other firms, every year since 2016. A number of interconnected units are dispatched through a central system which aims to smartly distribute the power generated by individual units and relieve the load on the grid during peak hours. Thanks to the optimization of the central system, this project brings new value for customers and at the same time, achieves low-carbon power generation.

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Sweden: Electric Transport Laboratory

In 2017, the Government of Sweden and industry partners announced funding of SEK 1 billion to the Research Institutes of Sweden (RISE) to implement a testbed on electromobility.

The resulting Swedish Electric Transport Laboratory AB (SEEL) will provide test facilities for all areas of electric transport, including electrified gearboxes and driveshafts, as well as component, powertrain and chassis testing for hybrids and electric vehicles. Charging and smart power-management will be looked at as well and SEEL expects that the marine and aviation sectors will be able to make use of the testbed.

The overall goals of the initiative are to strengthen the competitiveness of the Swedish automotive industry, contribute to Sweden remaining at the forefront of innovation in the transport sector, and expedite Sweden’s transition to a fossil-free society.

Project partners include Chalmers University of Technology, CEVT, Scania, Volvo Cars and Volvo Group, RISE, and the government of Sweden.

The lab is expected to be operational by 2022.

For more information: