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Digital Grid Controllers (DGC)


Digital grid controllers (DGC) are compact devices that support electricity identification and interchange settlement by communicating with the Digital Grid Platform that provides the transaction function and collecting data from smart meters. While they do not have the ability of DGRs to directly control electrical power generation systems, they are likely to spread faster than DGRs due to their low-cost and ability to be built into smart meters. Each DGC contains an air temperature and pressure sensor for acquiring the data needed to predict electrical power demand.

Digital Grid Controller (DGC)
Digital Grid Controller (DGC)

DGCs accurately measure the amount of electrical power and provide the necessary information by communicating with the DGP, which possesses a Blockchain-enabled trading function. The results of electrical power transactions (buying/selling) are then recorded in distributed ledgers.

Digital Grid Controller (DGC)

Types of DGCs

We are currently planning on providing two types of DGCs; Type B and Type C. Type B, which has already been developed, does not contain an internal measuring function and instead reads smart meter values via Wi-Sun or Ethernet. Type C, which is being developed as part of our Ministry of the Environment project, contains an internal Japanese Measurement Act-compliant measurement function. As long as a generator has the ability to be externally controlled, it can be controlled via either type. Eventually, this will make it possible to control generation output to supply power only when a buyer has been secured, ensuring power balancing.

Types of DGCs Types of DGCs
  • Installed along with existing smart meter; Values are read through Wi-Sun or Ethernet
  • -Completed with the FY2017 Urawamisono District Demonstrator Project
  • PCS can be controlled, so output (the amount of generated electricity) can be controlled to match transactions (when the PCS side is compatible with external communication control).
  • Internally installed Japanese Measurement Act–compliant utility submeter
  • Scheduled to be completed with the FY2018 Blockchain demonstrator project
  • PCS can be controlled, so output (the amount of generated electricity) can be controlled to match transactions (as long as the PCS allows for external communication control).

The Future of DGCs

Once meters have communications functionality, DGCs will be able to read values not just from electricity smart meters, but also from gas meters, calorimeters, water meters, and so forth. As such, we plan to make it possible to utilize DGCs for transactions of resources other than electricity in the future. For example, the ability to ascertain water usage levels could be utilized in a variety of ways, including in-home elderly monitoring services. The ability to measure solar heat or biomass heat sources, on the other hand, could be utilized in the Green Heat Certificate System.
In addition, we are also considering embedding AI chips into DGCs themselves that could be used to reduce the cloud-side processing load and implement a number of services at the installation site through edge computing.