The IoT initiative builds on trials that began in 2015. The IoT tools will be incorporated into operational support services provided via the Center for fossil fuelled power plants of other electricity producers, both in Japan and overseas, as well as TEPCO’s own units. The Center’s annual revenue is projected to increase to 5 billion JPY within three years.

“Embracing IoT technology…makes it possible to provide value-added services for our customers in terms of maintaining thermal efficiency and improving power generation availability,” said Seiji Moriya, president of TEPCO Fuel & Power, Inc. “TEPCO intends to enhance its presence as a global O&M company.”

TEPCO estimates that using IoT based tools achieves significant gains in power generation efficiency, resulting in decreased fuel costs of as much as 70 million yen per unit a year. Also, by remote early detection of symptoms of anomalies, use of the IoT based tools helps optimise power station operation and maintenance effort, with a 10- 20% reduction in outages.

The DAC was integrated into the IoT trials in January 2017, and has confirmed operational improvements at TEPCO Fuel & Power’s fossil-fired power plants at Hitachi- Naka, Chiba, Futtsu, and Shinagawa.

To develop the IoT based tools, TEPCO has been working with key players active in the Internet of Things, for example: Amazon Web Service (cloud platform); OSIsoft (PI System, data infrastructure); GE Energy Japan KK, Bently Division (Enterprise Impact, anomaly early detection system); Engineering Consultants Group (Predict- IT, anomaly early detection system); and Curtiss-Wright (PEPSE and PMAX, performance management systems).

TEPCO said it “studied software provided by these companies and developed platforms” and in the future plans to “strengthen these tools.”

TEPCO announced on 7 February 2018 that it had formed a strategic alliance with Curtiss-Wright focused on boosting the efficiency of fossil-fuelled power plants.

As part of the alliance, TEPCO will supply Curtiss-Wright’s thermal performance optimisation software to power plants in east Asia, southeast Asia, south Asia, and the Middle East. TEPCO said the deal marked the first time that it had entered into an agreement to obtain exclusive sales rights for power plant related software. It is also the first time that Curtiss-Wright has executed an exclusive sales agreement with a power plant operator for its proprietary software.

The alliance covers PMAX and PEPSE, two Curtiss-Wright software products said to be already in use at more than 500 locations worldwide. The two companies “expect that TEPCO’s expertise in power station management will add value.”

Curtiss-Wright also anticipates that TEPCO’s strong Asian presence and power generation expertise will enhance its sales and marketing activities in Asia, as well as its ability to support electric power companies as customers.

The companies believe that having Curtiss-Wright’s software used at thermal power stations operated by the TEPCO Group, and having close interaction between engineers from both companies, it will be possible to improve the technical expertise of TEPCO Group engineers and develop products and services that better meet the needs of power plant operators in Asia.