Tokyo calls for Smart Grid in wake of Fukushima outages

A Smart Grid is to be set up in Tokyo as a solution to the power problems the city faced in the days following the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Tokyo’s metropolitan government has voted to introduce a Smart Grid that would draw on the power from office buildings, which account for 35 per cent of the city’s energy use.

The grid would monitor power from national utility Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco), renewable energy sources – particularly solar – cogeneration heat and power from the city’s gas supply, and energy storage batteries.

If generation from Tepco is suspended, as it was following Fukushima, then the Smart Grid would switch off all unnecessary appliances and the electricity shortfall would be compensated for by kicking-in the cogeneration system.

The grid is expected to be introduced in areas with many high-rise office buildings, including Marunouchi, Otemachi and the Shinjuku subcenter.

Hirohisa Aki of Japan’s Energy Technology Research Institute, said: “It’s very important to promote the Smart Grid system to enhance Tokyo’s disaster-response capabilities. Tokyo is the national capital, so the repercussions of a power shortage there would be extremely serious.”

Kansai submits nuclear stress results

Kansai Electric Power Company has submitted the results of a stress test conducted on No. 3 reactor at its Oi nuclear power plant in Oicho to the Japanese government.

Shinichi Kuroki, deputy director general of Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, said: “We’ll examine this without delay. We’ll discuss this issue in a transparent fashion at a hearing with outside experts.”

The test results from Oi confirmed that the reactor and its pipes can endure a quake intensity of 1.8 times the presumed standard safety limit.

It is believed that at 1.96 times the presumed acceleration figure, the reactor will fail to stop automatically.

MHI fits Fukushima waste system

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries has started work on fitting a storage system to capture radioactive sludge at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan.

A slurry-like sludge containing radioactive material produced during reator cooling will be captured and stored in eight iron tanks surrounded by one metre thick concrete walls.

The 13.5m-long, 3.2m-diameter cylindrical tanks will each hold up to 90 cubic metres of sludge and will be horizontally installed at Fukushima.

India could ditch nuclear if it wanted, says atomic scientist

One of India’s most respected nuclear scientists has said that the country could afford to disband its nuclear programme if it wished.

MP Parameswaran, a former scientist to the Atomic Energy Commission, said that the country does not need nuclear power to fulfil its energy needs.

“Of the 750,000 MW power projected for 2030, fossil fuels will account for 400,000 MW,” he said.

“A ten per cent increase in this can offset the shortage produced by the suspension of the nuclear energy programme.

“We have all the expertise and production capacity to do this.”

He said existing reactors should be redesigned to operate on coal or natural gas. “Yes, there are costs involved in it. But the real cost of continuing with the nuclear programme is much higher.”

Meanwhile, India is working on a 300 MW nuclear reactor that would use thorium instead of uranium for most of its fuel.

Plans are for the plant to be built and operational by 2020 and officials are said to be currently looking for a suitable site.

China ’10 years from shale boom’

It will take China nearly a decade to put in place the infrastructure needed to unlock the potential of its vast shale gas reserves, an analyst has said.

Paul Pang of consultants HIS CMAI said the pace of shale gas growth would be much slower in China than in the US because North America already had the necessary pipeline networks in place from conventional gas fields.

However analyst Wijnand Moonen of Lloyd’s Register said China’s ability to quickly build roads and pipelines should not be underestimated.

“They seem to be able to do something more rapidly than traditionally in the West.”

Pakistan tariff rise gets go ahead

despite concerns

Pakistan’s National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) has approved an increase of $0.02 per unit in the electricity tariff in support of a request from the Central Power Purchase Agency.

This rise comes against the background of a fuel adjustment surcharge of $0.06 per unit, resulting in a sharp tariff increase to consumers.

However, legislators have expressed reservations over the past performance of NEPRA, and it has been criticised for not having a clear policy to determine the level of power tariff.

India: India’s Essar Energy has said it expects to complete three power projects by next March that would increase its capacity to 4510 MW. The 1200 MW Salaya I and 510 MW Vadinar P2 projects are in Gujarat while Mahan I is in Madhya Pradesh.

Indonesia: State-owned power company Perusahaan Listrik Negara (PLN) has signed a five-year deal with BP and Eni to buy coal-bed methane gas as a means of meeting its increasing energy demands. PLN will buy 14,000 m3 a day from BP/Eni joint venture Vico Indonesia. The gas will generate electricity at PLN’s 3 MW power plant in East Kalimantan and company president Nur Pamudji said deliveries would begin in December.

Kazakhstan: A venture between Samsung, Kepco and Kazakhstan could start building a 1.5 GW coal fired plant near Almaty in Kazakhstan by 2013, with completion by 2018, according to a government minister. The three partners are now in talks over their shares in the venture. Kazakhstan’s sovereign wealth fund was reported by Interfax in August to be aiming to increase its stake in the venture to 51 per cent by persuading Samsung and Kepco to reduce their ownership.

Singapore: The Experimental Power Grid Centre, described as one of the world’s largest research power grid facilities, has been officially opened in Singapore. It has been established to support Singapore’s goal of developing a smart energy economy and a series of deals cover research in renewable energy integration, advanced high efficiency inverters and Smart Grid control.

South Korea: ZBB Energy and Honam Petrochemical have shipped their first energy storage and power control system to Jeju Island for a national Smart Grid initiative. The system will be used to test the distribution of electricity generated by wind turbines and solar panels while a ZBB EnerStore zinc-bromide flow battery will be used for advanced electrical energy storage.

Vietnam: Finnish engineering firm Poyry’s Energy Business Group has won a $11m consultancy deal for the Mong Duong 1 coal fired power plant project. Poyry’s contract covers engineering design review, construction supervision, environmental monitoring, and monitoring of the resettlement plan implementation.

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