J-Power and Toshiba ESS to Monitor Water Intake Levels through the Use of Low-Power, Wide-Area Wireless Technology

Goal of constructing platforms for data collection in energy fields


Transmission & Distribution

Renewable Energy

R & D / Technology

March 12 2019

Electric Power Development Co., Ltd.
Toshiba Energy Systems & Solutions Corporation

Tokyo, Japan — Electric Power Development Co., Ltd. (hereafter referred to as “J-Power”) and Toshiba Energy Systems & Solutions Corporation (hereinafter referred to as “Toshiba ESS”) today announced that the companies have had successful results in a joint demonstration project monitoring water intake levels in mountainous areas where it is difficult to access and that are typically out of range of cell phone service or private communication networks by adopting low-power wide-area (LPWA) wireless technology. The companies will continuously investigate to implement this technology at hydroelectric power plants and other infrastructure-related facilities.

Background of the Demonstration Project

Communication equipment for maintenance is generally built, owned and operated by power companies. However, in mountainous areas where dams, water intake facilities and transmission towers are located, it is hard to get power supply and sometime cell phone service is not available. In areas like this, a data logger equipment is used to record data, such as water levels, and a maintenance person periodically visits the site and collects the data, which cost is not so small. In addition, as it takes certain time to collect data from all facilities, it is difficult to generate power based on the predicted inflow to the dams, and the amount of generated power may be limited. Therefore, methods for collecting data with low-cost in real time have been required.

Outline of the Demonstration Project

In this demonstration project, water levels at several water intakes were collected and transferred to the carrier’s LTE service area, using LPWA low-power multi-hop wireless network technology*. In addition, data transmission experiment was carried out at some underground hydroelectric power plant which are also out of range of cellular phone service. The project has been conducted with satisfactory results from November 2018 to February 2019 at J-Power’s Kamishihoro Power Control Station in Hokkaido, Japan.

Future perspective

The companies will verify the effectiveness of IoT data collecting platform based on the demonstration project results. J-Power will further investigate the platform not only to run hydroelectric power plants, but also substations and transmission towers, with a goal of improving efficiency of asset management and increasing power generation by improving operation efficiency using real-time data. Toshiba ESS will offer IoT data collection solution and service that enables data collection in difficult-to-reach areas such as mountainous regions and facilities, and contribute customers’ digital transformation of power generation, electrical substation and transmission facilities.

* A wireless network technology that covers a wide communication range by relaying data.

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