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AI Power Businesses Japan

Japan Looks To Distributed Control Theory To Manage Energy Market Deregulation 54

Hallie Siegel writes: Japan's power industry is currently centralized, but it aims to deregulate by around 2020. Coupled with this major structural market change, the expansion of thermal, nuclear and renewable power generation will place additional demands on the management of the country's energy market. Researchers from the Namerikawa lab at Keio University are working with control engineers, power engineers and economists to designing mechanical and control algorithms that can manage this large-scale problem.
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Japan Looks To Distributed Control Theory To Manage Energy Market Deregulation

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  • Replace the regulations with a functional equivalent. Don't just magically figure that the free market will figure it out. I hope it works.
    • This is how you deregulate the energy market: you don't. It always turns into a cartel anyway.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        And which market doesn't degenerate into a cartel?
        Spoiler: monopoly.

      • It is very hard to deregulate electrical because it has an instantaneous supply/demand response, hence the consideration of unique methods. Also, a short sighted market may not be best for long term planning needs that require large investment with very long term ROI. Its not like the deregulation of the phone companies, which although it was messy, worked out for the better.
    • by khallow ( 566160 )
      I'll just point out that markets are an ancient solution to the distributed control problem.
      • Tell California how well deregulating the energy markets worked for them. In a word: Enron.
        • by haruchai ( 17472 )

          Indeed. How soon we forget.

        • by khallow ( 566160 )
          I notice how so many of the supposed examples of deregulation cited in this discussion are actually examples of government incompetence and malfeasance. Sure, you can deregulate in a way that is a disaster as you demonstrate. But just because California created a market which heavily favored Enron and then the governor of California deliberately forced those conditions to continue for about half a year until one of the three large electricity utilities were in bankruptcy and a second was about to file for b
  • Deregulation already worked so well for their housing market back in the 90's.

    • And it worked fairly well for their railway system [citylab.com]. It's not completely without flaws, or without regulations and subsidies, but private companies have demonstrated an ability to create both effective and profitable transportation systems which government run companies could never manage to do. Deregulation and privatization are not panaceas, but they can and do work well when done smartly. Japan seems to at least have a track record of success in this area.

  • What a brilliant idea, especially in the wake of a nuclear power accident!

    • by Anonymous Coward

      No, I'm pretty sure the wake was from the tsunami.

  • Actually, this is not so much "Deregulation" as "Reregulation".
    A new National Grid under Central control, with Free-er Market solutions at the Generation level.
    Of course, something corrupt like CALISO may occur, but there is always _some_ corruption.

  • 50 Hz vs 60 Hz (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 22, 2015 @09:25AM (#49527015)

    I'd be impressed if they can figure out how to link the east side of the country (50 Hz) with the west (wired later at 60 Hz).

    • I agree. Probably not, though. It's all Tokyo and Germany's fault.
    • by Orne ( 144925 )

      HVDC tie lines and rotary frequency converters can do this. There are many instances of this in the US interconnection, just look where the Amtrak network (25 Hz) [wikipedia.org] connects to the transmission grid (60 Hz).

      It's all a matter of how much money are you willing to spend for the additional reliability. Until the nukes went offline, Japan's two grids were self-sufficient enough that transferring energy between the two wasn't cost effective to justify a highly connected interface. By the time you needed it, it

    • There is such a thing as TW scale powerconversion. You just need to order it.
      Most long distance runs are HVDV [wikipedia.org] because that has lower losses. The same equipment can be used to convert from 50 Hz to DC to 60 Hz and back.
      The reason this was a problem during the Fukishima disaster is that there was no time to make it. Not that it was not possible to make it.

      • Sorry, that should have been "GW scale powerconversion". TW scale in a single location is technically possible but not done as of yet.
        For scale: the average power consumption over 2010 was approximately 17 TW.

    • Easy: with DC instead of AC.
    • Yes this was going to be my comment. Good luck doing that through deregulation! The only hope would be that some government is forward thinking enough to regulate the change to force the issue, you know for the good of everyone in the future. Deregulation to corporations that have much smaller frames of reference (profit quarters), pretty much ensures that it will never happen, or at least in the foreseeable future.

  • by jsepeta ( 412566 ) on Wednesday April 22, 2015 @11:27AM (#49528203) Homepage

    Regulation helps to keep markets free and open by preventing abuse of the system. Your libertarian lies are worthless here.

  • I mean, energy deregulation and the "free market" worked *so* well in California a dozen years ago. (This assumes that slashdotters reading this are old enough to remember that, or are at least willing to read the news stories about the criminals selling the energy....)



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