Softbank Group Launches Retail Electricity Business

2014/07/04 21:56
Kenji Kaneko, Nikkei BP CleanTech Institute
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SB Power Corp and SoftBank Telecom Corp announced that they will launch a retail electricity business for corporate customers July 1, 2014.

The two companies are affiliated with the Softbank Group. SB Power (Minato Ward, Tokyo) 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 (Minato Ward, Tokyo).

SB Power will start selling electricity in the Kanto area and, then, expand the area to the Tohoku area, etc in the future. It aims to win 200-300 customers in the first year.

SoftBank Telecom (Minato Ward, Tokyo) 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, 2014, SB Energy has constructed and 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.