Saturday, 23 January 2021

NTT’s green strategy includes virtual power plant business

by Harry Baldock, Total Telecom
Wednesday 13 January 21

With Japan pushing for net carbon emissions by 2050, NTT is to undergo a major green transformation

In September last year, Yoshihide Suga was inaugurated as Prime Minister of Japan, bringing with him numerous policy changes affecting the telecoms industry and beyond. Notably, he pledged that Japan would achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 – a tall ask, given the nation’s industrial nature. However, NTT has taken this goal to heart…

In September last year, Yoshihide Suga was inaugurated as Prime Minister of Japan, bringing with him numerous policy changes affecting the telecoms industry and beyond. Notably, he pledged that Japan would achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 – a tall ask, given the nation’s industrial nature.

However, NTT has taken this goal to heart, implementing a new strategy focussing on green energy and decarbonisation. The company is currently considering a wide range of environmentally friendly measures, including installing batteries in its service buildings around the country to store energy from local renewable sources, as well as replacing its 10,000-strong vehicle fleet with electric alternatives.

Currently, NTT’s expansive infrastructure currently consumes about 1% of all the electricity generated in Japan, making it a major contributor to national carbon emissions.

“We will increase renewable energy on our own and play the role of adjusting supply and demand for energy in various parts of the country,” noted NTT CEO Jun Sawada.

Perhaps most interestingly, NTT is also working with Mitsubishi Corp to explore the concept of virtual power plants (VPPs). This concept involves creating a network of decentralised, renewable power generating units, like wind farms or solar parks, which are connected to the VPP by a remote control unit. The VPP then oversees supply and demand, optimising power delivery from the various sources. In effect, a VPP aggregates multiple, independent, renewable power sources so that they may deliver consistent and reliable power, acting almost as if they were a single power source.

Cloud-based VPP projects are already underway in the US, Europe, and Australia. For NTT, their VPP goal is to be able to provide businesses and local governments with electricity by 2030.

This new push for green energy is not the only major impact PM Suga has had on the Japanese telecoms sphere since coming to office. In October, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications announced plans to force the nation’s operators to reduce their mobile price plans, which have long been noted as some of the most expensive in the world. This move came at an interesting time for NTT, who is currently in the process of reabsorbing NTT DoCoMo in a deal worth $40 billion, allowing them a much more solid financial position from which to drive down prices.

 

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