TOKYO -- Toshiba and Sumitomo Corp. will use storage batteries to ensure stable supplies of renewable energy in the U.S., hoping to debut similar services back home in Japan down the line.
Output from wind and solar power varies greatly with the weather. The new business will aim to smooth out such fluctuations by storing excess electricity in batteries. Toshiba and Sumitomo will be the first Japanese companies to enter the field in the U.S.
They will partner with U.K.-based renewable-energy company RES to service PJM Interconnection, the largest regional transmission organization in the U.S. PJM operates a wholesale electricity market in 13 northeastern states, including Pennsylvania.
Toshiba will install a 6,000kW power storage system, while RES will run it and provide transformers. Sumitomo will be responsible for building a power plant and managing the business as a whole. Construction could begin this month, with the plant possibly online by December.
PJM will draw on the stored electricity when output and power demand stray from forecasts. Sumitomo will store and release electricity in the batteries at PJM's request.
Toshiba and Sumitomo aim to book several million dollars a year from the business at first. They hope to eventually expand to other regions, raking in tens of millions of dollars of revenue.