Share – Innovative Community and Energy System

JAPAN: Share – Innovative Community and Energy System


Project Title Share!
Location City of Kitakyushu, Fukuoka Prefecture, Japan
Time Period of Project 2010-2014
Link to Project Website http://jscp.nepc.or.jp/en/kitakyushu/index.shtml
Key Word Energy Management, Active Consumer, Community


Project Background

The Higashida district of the Yahatahigashi Ward in the City of Kitakyushu, which is the target area for this project, is the birthplace of Japan’s industrial revolution and the location of the government-run iron and steel works that started operations in 1901. Redevelopment of the 120ha area began in the mid-1990s, and as of 2013, about 70 companies and approximately 6,000 workers are located in the area. The area’s population is about 1,000, and with visitors, the daytime population can be upwards of 30,000. After the Kitakyushu Expo in 2001 that was held in the Higashida area under the concept of improving urban infrastructure, the City of Kitakyushu developed the Yahatahigashi Ward Green Village Plan in 2004. This plan illustrates the concept of “sharing” in order to promote eco-urban development with an eye on the next 100 years, in cooperation with local residents and businesses, academia, NPOs, and governmental organizations. The co-existence of the city and local factories is being promoted as one of the concepts of this project. In the energy sector, in particular, the plan looks at optimizing the use of energy by utilizing the industrial structures of factories in the city. Specifically, this entails the effective use of energy and reduction of GHG emissions through a mechanism that supplies power to the urban area from a cogeneration plant located in the nearby iron and steel plant, and utilizes heat (steam) in factories within the iron and steel plant.

Figure. Project Location


Demonstration projects are also carried out under the project in order to create a hydrogen-powered society by utilizing hydrogen byproducts that are generated during the manufacturing processes in the iron and steel plant as fuel for automobiles, and fuel cells for residential use by constructing the world’s first hydrogen supply pipelines to the city center. The Yahatahigashi Ward Urban Planning Liaison Committee, made up of businesses located in the area, was established to stimulate the local community, and develops plans and activities, such as area beautification campaigns and events at various points within the local area. The committee is also involved in activities to introduce energy savings and renewable energy in the entire area, and activities to prevent global warming, such as tree planting. These activities are based on the idea of sharing, which this community has adopted as its local slogan (omochiyori, wakachiai, osusowake), and each stakeholder is sharing what they can offer with others. i.e., the stakeholders contribute to the project by what they can do and share benefit with each other. People started to relocate to the Higashida area in 2008, which changed the face of the local community that had originally been made up of factories that were located in the area, to a new type of local community in which the residents are active participants.

Since 2012, the “Higashida Festival” has been held with the participation of the area’s residents based on the concept of “omochiyori, wakachiai, osusowake” to convey the idea of “sharing” with both the people who live here, and those that visit the area. Putting the idea of a “smart community” into practice in this target project area requires various types of both hard and soft infrastructure. The project started soon after the area was selected as a Next-Generation Energy and Social Systems Demonstration Project in 2010 based on its potential. In 2011, the City of Kitakyushu was selected as a unique, green growth city in Asia for the OECD Green Cities Programme; this project is positioned as a core activity within this report, and aims to share its know-how with other areas in Asia. As a result of the Great East Japan Earthquake, there has been a heightened social need for conversion to an independent, decentralized network for energy supply and community redevelopment. This project has been attracting attention from both within and outside Japan as a project that is the focus of even higher expectations for the identification of new roles and potential achievements.


Case Description

(1) Purpose
This project aims to create a new energy system in which consumers are active participants, and which utilizes a Cluster/Community Energy Management System (CEMS), which carries out the integrated management of local energy information, and smart meters as the gateway for this information, energy management systems (EMS) installed in the houses and buildings of consumers , and storage batteries. Specifically, the project aims at 15% peak cut for electricity demand in the area, the design of a system that uses energy wisely when renewable energies are widely introduced, and, by 2050, a 50% reduction in GHG emissions (compared to 2007 levels). These measures reduce the social costs associated with energy, and allow both energy suppliers and consumers to enjoy economic benefits. Furthermore, the project promotes international standardization in order to broadly expand the use of technologies and know-how developed through the project both inside and outside Japan.

The stable supply of power in Japan to date had been taken for granted until the Great East Japan Earthquake. Since the disaster, there has been heightened worry about stable power supply, and increased chances to promote the introduction of renewable energy. It has become necessary to replace systems in which only the supply side (power companies) assumes responsibility for stable power supply, with a new system (demand response) in which the demand side (consumers) are also active participants in reducing their own energy consumption. Both dynamic pricing and incentive programs are included in this project to promote demand response, and demonstrate a system in which the demand side, i.e., the consumer, controls demand according to supply on a particular day.

It is expected that the mechanism such as dynamic pricing will encourage consumers to reduce or shift energy consumption peak. This will reduce the duty of electric companies to control power generation to respond to changes in power demand, which will also lead to a reduction in power plant capacity. The reduction of electricity bills is an economic benefit for consumers that practice demand response activities. There has also been an increase in opportunities for exchange from various standpoints through interviews and surveys on electric power in communities by the local government and NPOs. The opportunities for the community to band together have increased, including discussions among residents on methods to reduce power consumption, and visiting public facilities together in time periods when power rates are high.

(2) Approach
In 2010, detailed plans were developed into a master plan with the participation of local residents, power suppliers, and companies participating in demonstration projects, academia, and governmental agencies. The contents of the master plan vary and include the introduction of renewable energy and instruments such as CEMS and smart meters, as well as the development of a next-generation mobility system, design for a rate system, implementation of environmental education activities, and overseas expansion of project outcomes.

Figure. Smart energy management in the entire area centered around the


The Kitakyushu Smart Community Council was launched as the main implementation body of this project. This council established a board of governors and subcommittees as needed in order to smoothly promote project activities, and carries out activities, including confirmation of the project’s progress and action policies, in addition to an examination of technical and administrative matters under each theme. Until FY 2011, the project developed and introduced energy management systems, such as CEMS, in the local community, and carried out detailed institutional designs towards the official start of the demonstration project from FY 2012. To start the demonstration project, the technologies of participating companies are brought to the table (omochiyori) to create multivendor, energy management systems built around CEMS. The project features dynamic pricing and incentive programs as mechanisms to promote changes in consumers’ demand for electricity.

The community Energy Management System (CEMS) is managed by Fujitsu Electric and is located in the Kyushu Human Media Creation Center. This is where the data for all power produced and stored in the Higashida area is managed centrally, including Higashida Cogeneration, the area’s power plant that uses natural gas, other forms of natural energy, and storage batteries. Demand forecasts and power generation forecasts for natural energy are developed based on daily weather information. Production and demand for power is predicted depending on changes in season, as well as daily weather and temperatures. This information is disseminated to “smart meters” that are installed in households and offices to create an optimal power generation plan. The demonstration project has also started a “dynamic pricing system” in which electricity prices fluctuate in response to demand that changes by season, day, and time period. This is a system in which electricity costs are set high for time periods in which the most amount of power is likely to be used according to prior electricity demand balances; in contrast, fees are set lower for periods when user frequency is low. Electricity costs are displayed on “in-home displays” installed in households and offices. This allows customers that access this information to decide

Figure. Community Energy Management System


The Higashida and Maeda Power Supply and Demand Unions are comprised of power suppliers and all the consumers that receive electricity in the Higashida area. At the general meeting of the union, the decision was made to take part in this project, with the participation of all the customers of the approximate 50 businesses located in the Higashida area. The project also confirms the participation of residential customers using methods that differ from business ones. Information exchange sessions and workshops are held a number of times each year in order to increase people’s understanding of the project. Because it may be necessary for the project secretariat to disclose personal information, such as about households, the project issued letters of consent regarding the intent to participate in the project; consent forms were received from 195 out of 225 households. The HEMS (Home Energy Management System) has also been introduced in several households that expressed interest.

Dynamic pricing system has been designed as a mechanism in which the unit price for electric power rates fluctuates in response to demand for electric power supply in the area for energy management. For example, rates are temporarily set high when demand is high, and are temporarily set low when demand is low. This encourages consumers to change the demand for electricity. Five levels were established in the project for electric power rates during peak hours, the world’s first demonstration project on variable peak pricing was carried out. The notification method for dynamic pricing is provided through the CEMS, which sends information to households via information terminals (display screens installed in households) on the previous evening and next morning.

The incentive program has been also developed as a mechanism that aims to maintain and increase the motivation of consumers to save electricity, and encourage changes in consumers’ demand for power, without being dependent on changes in electricity bills, for example. In this project, reductions in energy demand of the overall community have been encouraged by offering eco-points for the power conservation actions of consumers, establishing a commendation system based on these results, and offering discount sales or points for visiting stores in neighboring shopping centers during peak hours.

Figure. Dynamic pricing rate system (Winter 2013)


The project has implemented more than 100 briefing sessions and exchange meetings with the participation of about 10 people each time between the start of the project until 2013, as the understanding and cooperation of the residents are essential for the implementation of the dynamic pricing system and incentive programs. The project has also carried out surveys and workshops two or three times a year to help consumers gradually gain a better understanding of energy management. The project aims to improve systems year by year through these activities, in order to develop a system that is easier to use.

Professor Takanori Ida of Kyoto University, an economics expert, offers instruction on the peak cut effects in the dynamic pricing system, and evaluations are carried out according to the RCT (Randomized Controlled Trials) that are the guidelines of the U.S. Department of Energy to ensure that project data meets international standards. The RCT looks at three points: securing sufficient sample numbers, preparing a control group without price fluctuations, and randomization. Before the introduction of this system, multiple consultation meetings are held with Professor Takanori Ida’s research group to carry out the demonstration project in accordance with the RCT.


Figure. Result of demonstration project through summer and winter: Comparison of peak cuts


Project Outcomes

In order to encourage participation by consumers, it is important for both power suppliers and consumers to share information on energy. In this project, a smart meter and information terminal that displays information from the smart meter is installed in each household and office, which allows information to be shared between the power suppliers and consumers through CEMS. Consumers are able to obtain information, such as the amount of electricity supplied to the area, the amount of electricity used, their own electricity bills, and number of ecopoints. This has become an opportunity for consumers to think about the balance between their lifestyles and energy (energy savings, power conservation actions).

Figure 29. BEMS screen showing current state of energy demand in businesses located in the area


Generally speaking, consumers are assumed to consider the idea of electricity as “natural” and “available to be used when wanted,” and do not care of energy. As a result of promoting information sharing, such as the visualization of energy, through this project, the implementation of energy management by consumers is leading to the efficient utilization of energy in the entire community, and to the identification of solutions for mitigating the depletion of energy resources and global warming, which is being better understood by consumers. It is also important for consumers to take action as key stakeholders that make up energy systems as “prosumers” (both producers and consumers). In a survey, more than half of the area’s residents responded that their understanding of environmental and energy issues has increased as a result of the project, and it shows that consumers are planning to participate in energy systems.

Figure. Introduction of HEMS and BEMS in various places


In this project, electricity rates are raised temporarily during seasons in which electricity demand reaches (or is expected to reach) higher peaks, such as in the summer and winter; this stimulates energy-saving actions by consumers. Consumers receive an electricity rate table for the next day via the smart meter in their homes or offices, and upon viewing the price table, consumers can change the preset temperatures of air conditioners, shift times for washing and cleaning, or leave the house during peak hours. In addition to self-checking electricity usage in hourly increments, consumers can also compare results with previous days and get information on the total amount of electricity consumption in the entire area. Checking  this information allows consumers to carry out their own energy-saving actions. In households where HEMS has been installed, household appliances for which peak shifts are possible automatically turn off when dynamic pricing is triggered. HEMS can also assess situations by combining information on electricity use and information from temperature and humidity sensors, illumination intensity sensors, and motion sensors, and propose specific energy-saving actions. There is a dorm for single people in this area as well, and energy savings and peak cuts are coordinated by BEMS. Specifically, the project considers not only the amount of electricity used, but also the development of models to reduce CO2 emissions by installing water conservation devices and introducing heat transfer that is interlocked with BEMS. Through these actions, the project confirmed an approximate 20% peak cut in the summer and winter of 2012, and the summer of 2013, respectively.

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