Energy Storage projects are on the rise in Japan, with many players looking to capitalize on the METI subsidies announced in 2021, and the necessity to co-locate ESS with new renewable assets in certain areas, namely Hokkaido. Does this mean that there is a booming talent market in the ESS market? The answer is both yes and no, and we can get a better understanding of this by looking at the capabilities of the players in the ESS market.
Players and capabilities
Main market players are renewable developers, both multinational and domestic, with experience in other asset types, most commonly PV solar players with a track record in Japan.
As the FIT for PV dries up – large-scale projects have faced challenges such as land scarcity, local opposition and declining economics – many developers have shifted their focus to ESS projects. These players already have strong capabilities in project origination and development. As ESS projects tend to require smaller parcels of land, these early stages of development are relatively easy to cover with existing human resources.
In most cases, they employ electrical engineers, who are able to perform tasks such as system design, working with TSO for grid connection, etc. However, the trading and power markets are where these firms tend to lack expertise. Most of their projects in PV have been subsidized by FIT, and they have little or no experience in trading their power, and thus, they need expertise to help maximize sales.