Tesla unveils new virtual power plant in Japan

Tesla has unveiled a new virtual power plant using Powerwalls home battery pack, and this time, it’s on an island, Miyako-jima, in Japan.

We have seen Tesla putting a lot of effort into virtual power plants lately.

A virtual power plant (VPP) consists of distributed energy storage systems, like Tesla Powerwalls, used in concert to provide grid services and avoid the use of polluting and expensive peaker power plants.

Tesla launched one in California earlier this year, and it had its first emergency event earlier this month with great results.

Now the company is trying to deploy a virtual power plant in Texas, and of course, it also had one in operation for years in Australia that is still expanding.

But now we have learned that Tesla also quietly built a new virtual power plant in Japan, and it has now decided to unveil it.

The project is called “Miyakojima VPP” because it is located on the island of Miyako-jima, the most populous island in the Okinawa Prefecture.

Tesla announced that it started to install Powerwalls in partnership with the local electric utility in 2021, and it now has over 300 Powerwalls on the island as part of the VPP (translated from Japanese):

In Miyakojima, Okinawa Prefecture, the virtual power plant (VPP) project (hereinafter referred to as this project) using Tesla home storage battery Powerwall started in 2021, and the number of units installed on the island has exceeded 300. This is the first commercial use of Powerwall for a VPP project in Japan, and it will be the largest commercial VPP using household storage batteries in Japan.

Local homeowners get incentives from the local utility, Miyakojima Mirai Energy Co., to install the Powerwall and solar power in their homes, which the utility can use as part of the Tesla VPP.

Tesla explains that VPP is helping the island take better advantage of its renewable energy, but it is also proving more grid resilience, especially in the case of a natural disaster:

As a result, for example, when power supply and demand are tight on Miyako Island, electricity generated by photovoltaic power generation is stored in Powerwall before the tight time period and discharged from Powerwall to the home during the tight time period. It contributes not only to the households where the is installed, but also to the stabilization of Miyako Island’s grid power supply, and stabilizes the power supply on the island. In addition, in the event of a power outage due to a typhoon, etc., power will be supplied from the Powerwall to the installed home, making it possible to prevent power outages in the home.

The Miyakojima VPP is still growing, and Tesla expects that it will include 400 Powerwalls by the end of this year and 600 Powerwalls by the end of 2023.

In 2024, Tesla expects to start installing Powerwalls for similar projects throughout the Okinawa Prefecture.

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