According to The Nikkei Asia, Japanese telecommunications giant Nippon Telegraph and Telephone is about to drastically transform itself as the global trend of decarbonization accelerates.
As part of its new strategy, NTT has tied up with the Iwate Prefecture city of Miyako, whose energy networks were cut off in 2011 as a result of the devastating earthquake and tsunami. Learning from this bitter experience, the city now uses renewable energy sources to meet about 30% of its electricity needs. It plans to raise the proportion to 100% by 2050 through its tie-up with NTT.
NTT consumes 1% of the electricity generated in Japan to run its huge telecom infrastructure. It now plans to use this infrastructure as part of its new businesses involving decarbonization. For example, NTT is considering installing batteries at its 7,300 telecom service buildings across Japan so it can store electricity produced from local renewable energy sources such as sunlight and wind power. This offers a solution to renewables' main weakness: their volatility and intermittency due to unstable weather conditions, causing difficulties in matching supply and demand.
Furthermore, if the more than 10,000 vehicles that NTT owns are replaced with electric vehicles, they can serve as backup power sources for essential facilities such as hospitals during disasters.
"We will increase renewable energy on our own and play the role of adjusting supply and demand for energy in various parts of the country," said Jun Sawada, president and CEO of NTT.
Jointly with major Japanese trading house Mitsubishi Corp., NTT will also break into the business of virtual power plants, connecting distributed renewable energy through high tech. By fiscal 2030, NTT plans to become capable of providing renewable energy-based electricity on a scale comparable to a major electric power company, supplying businesses and local governments.
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