SoftBank begins retail electricity business

By Kenji Kaneko, Nikkei BP CleanTech Institute

SB Power Corp and SoftBank Telecom Corp have begun a retail electricity business for corporate customers.

The two companies are affiliated with the SoftBank Group. SB Power will procure electricity, especially renewable energy-derived electricity, from across Japan excluding Okinawa Prefecture and Hokkaido as a PPS (power producer and supplier) and provide it to corporate customers. SB Power will procure electricity mainly from mega (large-scale) solar power plants run by SB Energy Corp.

On July 1, SB Power started selling electricity in the Kanto area. It said it will expand the area to the Tohoku and other areas in the future. It aims to win 200-300 customers in the first year.

SoftBank Telecom and SB Power will sign an operating agreement on sale and purchase of electricity. In place of SB Power, SoftBank Telecom will be responsible for sales and marketing of electricity and collection of electricity fees, and it purchase electric power from corporations that have dispersed power sources. SoftBank Telecom will combine electric power sales with its business solutions such as network and cloud computing services that the company has been providing for some time and offer them to its customers.

As of June 13, SB Energy has been operating 69.1MW of mega solar power plants at 12 sites in Japan. And it plans to operate 292.1MW of mega solar and wind power plants including plants for joint projects with other companies by fiscal 2015. SB Power will procure electricity from the renewable energy-based power plants run and funded by SB Energy and other renewable energy-based power plants (such as biomass and geothermal power plants) run by other power producers.

To transmit electricity by using power transmission and distribution networks owned by general electric power suppliers, PPSes are required to adjust the difference between demand and supply to less than 3% every 30 minutes. As a power source for making this adjustment, SB Power uses electricity from natural gas-fired thermal power plants.

Therefore, the power sources owned by SB Power consist mainly of renewable energy-based power plants. And the rest are gas-fired power plants (no coal-fired or nuclear power plant). So, SB Power claims that their electricity is "clean electricity" that is produced without emitting much CO2.

Also, SB Power carries out the simulation of optimal power use for each customer and makes suggestions to lower electricity costs of the customer.

© Japan Today

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I'm sure Masayoshi Son is thinking of it, but if SB Power can use land near Fukushima then he can partially alleviate the loss of income and productive farmland of the residents.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Fantastic news. I hope this succeeds, grows and spreads to residential. I would love to send to nice little goodbye message to TEPCO by switching over.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

yep as soon as distribution is seperate from production the better. more player in the market will more competition and hopefully lower prices, Japans electricity is expensive compare to most countries.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

From next year, the power utilities monopoly over bother power generation and power supply will end. There will be a separation from generation and supply with the current utilities banned from direct selling to its previous customers.

We should see new power supply companies and ideally a smart grid system will also be built and allow a customer from Tokyo to buy power say from Aomori. Or allow a customer just to buy power generated from renewable energies, if such a company is formed.

I still find it insane, there are two power grid systems, east and west.

If everything pans out we could also see lower power charges?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

And acres of windfarms powering the ice wall at Fukushima... Anyway, I agree with Zichi-san.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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