Techno Trends

The big ideas that are changing everything

Smart Power Grid

Verification testing is currently underway for a community-wide energy supply-demand control system, which could be available to utility companies in as little as two years. The system will allow power companies to link up with home storage batteries to create large scale networks that can be tapped during peak demand.

This concept is becoming increasingly more important as power companies shift toward renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power. Homes would store power at night when demand (and rates) are low, then sell it back when demand (and prices) are high. The goal is to design flexible rate plans that will allow customers to recoup the initial cost of installing the batteries while keeping generating costs low. Over the next two years, a prototype system installed in Yokohama will be used to forecast supply and demand based on sunlight, wind and weather conditions.

For information: Toshiba Corporation, 1-1. Shibaura 1-chome, Minato-ku, Tokyo 105-8001, Japan; fax: +81-3-5444-2906; Web site:

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