Tokyo, October 28, 2014 - Rakuten, Inc. and Marubeni Corporation today announced that they have concluded a business partnership agreement and will launch a cooperative business related to energy demand development. Moving forward, both companies will promote the expansion of delivered power transactions using Rakuten’s platform, and also plan to promote the development of simplified Home Energy Management Systems*1 (HEMS) jointly with the Energy Demand Development Limited Liability Partnership (hereafter “Energy Demand Development LLP”) of which Rakuten is currently a member.
Rakuten embarked on the creation of a system to predict power demand and supply with a view towards reducing imbalances in June 2014 and works on promoting the adoption of renewable energies in the Rakuten Ecosystem, with considerations over retail power sales to hotels that are contracted with Rakuten Travel as part of this. At the same time, Marubeni has been moving forward with proactively securing renewable energy sources, such as through a hydropower project along the Mibu River in Nagano Prefecture, and wind and solar power projects all over Japan. It is selling energy from which a high percentage comes from renewable energies among its new energies. Rakuten and Marubeni will take action to expand delivered power transactions based around renewable energies while considering the imbalances and trends in the feed-in tariff scheme that are being debated by the Working Group on System Design, Electricity System Reform Subcommittee, Basic Policy Committee, Advisory Committee for Natural Resources and Energy, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI).
In addition, from the perspectives of growing the market and ensuring profitability, it is important to consider the question of how to incorporate electricity demand in the low-voltage sector, for which the market is to be newly opened in the across-the-board liberalization of the retail power market scheduled to begin in 2016. The recent thinking has been that energy management systems that use big data on electricity will be revitalized owing to factors like METI’s announcement that it will newly contribute 4.03 billion yen to the Project to Promote Introduction of the Home Energy Management Systems*2.
Rakuten has been placing priority on promoting the utilization of big data on consumer behavior, such as by making predictions on the diffusion index through the use of purchase data from Rakuten Ichiba, and is aiming to differentiate itself from other companies by applying this know-how to the energy business field. Moving forward, Marubeni and Energy Demand Development LLP, of which Rakuten is a member, plan to continue to jointly develop affordable devices for gathering big data on power and promote the development of new services through private initiative.
In December 2013, Rakuten Energy initiated a power management service geared towards corporations like lodging facilities, merchants, and golf courses that have contracts with or that take part in the Rakuten platform. Furthermore, in May 2014 the company announced a partnership over a demand response service aimed at residents who have concluded contracts for NTT Facilities’ apartment power supply service, and has launched a new service aimed at power consumers in quick succession. For the future, the company will promote alliances with other companies through a variety of different business vehicles, such as Energy Demand Development LLP, in order to contribute to the development of a healthy, free, and competitive power market.
Company name: Marubeni Corporation
Business description: Import / export (including transactions between other countries) and domestic transactions in sectors such as food, textiles, raw materials, paper and pulp, chemicals, energy, metals, machinery, finance, logistics, information, and development and construction; various service businesses; foreign and domestic business investment; resource development; and other business activities
Address: Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Representative: Fumiya Kokubu, President and Chief Executive
*1. HEMS is an abbreviation for Home Energy Management System, and refers to systems that perform residential energy management through the use of sensors and IT. It is said to make it possible to optimize the amount of energy used, primarily by visualizing the usage status for electricity and conserving power through the control of devices within homes. It is generally pronounced as “HEMS.”
*2. Project to Promote Introduction of the Home Energy Management System (HEMS), METI