Toshiba has acquired a 76% interest in cyberGRID, an Austrian developer and provider of intelligent energy management solutions.
Toshiba sees the development of its smart community business as a key strategy for the coming years. In addition to developing its in-house capabilities in related areas, the company has made a series of strategic acquisitions, including Swiss-based Landis+Gyr, the global provider of smart meter technology, whose products and solutions are currently being used in advanced metering infrastructure initiatives on every continent.
In February this year, Toshiba acquired Consert, a US-based energy management company, and the acquisition of cyberGRID brings a European developer of grid management solutions into Toshiba Group.
Utilities must constantly balance power supply and demand across the grid, from generation through to consumption.
Among the methods for doing this are demand response, which uses pricing mechanisms, including incentives, to encourage consumers, particularly in industry, to change usual consumption patterns during times of high demand.
Another approach is the virtual power plant, which brings distributed generation facilities, such as industrial generation clusters including photovoltaic generators, into the grid at times of high demand.
This brings greater flexibility into the supply, but adds to complexity in management and control, and also requires more complex communications.
cyberGRID provides solutions in both areas with Virtual Power Plant (VPP), which matches electricity consumption with a variety of distributed generation.
It offers customers a significantly lower cost alternative than conventional peaking power plants, and is environmentally friendly and CO2 neutral.
Once VPP is deployed, utilities can deploy new capacity within months without any major infrastructure investments.
"cyberGRID's cutting edge VPP business and technology will be a key solution for Toshiba's smart community," said Ryuji Maruyama, General Manager of Toshiba's Smart Community Division.
"It overarches energy efficiency facilities on the demand side and smart grid components on the supply side. When integrated with Landis+Gyr's smart metering solution, it gives utilities the ability to develop advanced services for consumers.
"Smart community is a high level concept for integrated solution package of social infrastructures, and Toshiba Group is accelerating its Smart Community business at the global level and this acquisition will contribute to that."