FutureCity Yokohama - Yokohama Smart City Project -


Yokohama City looks forward to joining hands with Frankfurt City as a partner with mutual interests in resolving global issues but using different innovative measures. By allowing each party to learn from the other, Yokohama is sure that innovation shall be created.  The case study we will introduce to Frankfurt is Japan’s largest demonstration for a smart city, the “Yokohama Smart City Project” (YSCP), which involves the municipality as well as the national government, businesses and the local community.

Summary of partnership

Yokohama and Frankfurt have been partner cities since 2011, and exchanges are taking place between both parties with regard to the three domains of climate change policy, economics and the development of creative cities. In November of 2016, representatives of Frankfurt visited Yokohama and engaged in both an exchange of opinions and facilities inspections regarding energy management issues and policies dealing with the use of hydrogen. What is more, in conjunction with the Frankfurt Representative Office of the City of Yokohama, further discussions were held with Frankfurt regarding areas of exchange. On this occasion, through the good offices of the IUC Project, it is the desire of Yokohama to further promote the relationship with Frankfurt, and to contribute further to the fields of urban planning and innovation.

In addition to energy management, the utilization of hydrogen, and measures that relate to the topic of low-carbon transportation, the City of Yokohama is also interested in an exchange of opinions with respect to topics such as attitudes regarding smart cities, and the undertaking of policy initiatives for the purpose of planning sustainable city development. On top of the structuring of programs designed to heighten citizen interest and encourage their cooperation, Yokohama would also like to exchange opinions with respect to educational programs for the children who shall shoulder the future responsibility. It is in Yokohama’s mind to aim to achieve the creation of new innovation through cooperation among the cities.

Challenges and solutions

In its recent history of 150 years, Yokohama was confronted by difficulties including the damage of earthquakes and war, explosive population growth, and the pollution that resulted from economic development. All of these issues were subsequently conquered by the city’s citizens, its businesses and its administration coming together. Yokohama City is currently facing various challenges such as climate change, declining birthrate, aging population and Deterioration of Urban Infrastructure.

Yokohama City, as a FutureCity, is responsible for establishing a “large city model” that simultaneously solves climate change countermeasures and economic and social issues using power of citizen and urban resource.  We hope to share the knowledge of “Yokohama Smart City Project” with Frankfurt as good practice of one of our cooperation fields “energy management” as an example of solution.

In 2010, the City of Yokohama was selected by the Japanese Government to become a “Next-Generation Energy Infrastructure and Social System Demonstration Area.” What is more, as the nation’s largest demonstration of the smart city concept, the YSCP was proactively promoted over a period of five years throughout the city.

The YSCP was set in an urbanized metropolis that is home to approximately 3.7 million inhabitants. Through cooperation with some of the most famous names in Japanese business including Nissan, Panasonic, Toshiba, TEPCO, Tokyo Gas, Accenture Japan and Meidensha, etc., the project saw the development of photovoltaic power-generation systems. It also saw the introduction of building energy management systems (BEMS), factory energy management systems (FEMS) and home energy management systems (HEMS), into commercial buildings, factories and private homes. What is more, community energy management systems (CEMS) that are designed to strike an optimum balance between energy demand and supply were introduced, and the reform of social systems promoted.

YSCP was a program that comprised a consortium of 34 Japanese companies, with its funding drawing on subsidies issued by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. In addition to obtaining the cooperation of Yokohama’s small and medium-sized builders, etc., with respect to HEMS introduction, during the project’s demonstration phase, efforts were made to attract the cooperation of a wide variety of stakeholders, including numbers of participating citizens.

To give but one example of the project’s successes, in city areas targeted for YSCP participation, Toshiba handled CEMS, integrated BEMS, and HEMS in the condominiums and the stand alone houses.  One solution that Toshiba introduced to condominiums was automatic demand response systems (ADR). By connecting to a CEMS unit the Toshiba air conditioning infrastructure and HEMS with which each of the targeted condominiums was equipped, based on electricity usage, the CEMS unit could act as a central control system, and thus the optimized operation of air conditioning infrastructure was achieved.

Results and targets

We reached our target a year ahead of schedule, introducing HEMS into around 4,200 households, 37 megawatts of solar panels and 2,300 electric vehicles. The amount of CO2 reduction was 39,000 tons.

In the YSCP, of the households that introduced HEMS, 3500 households participated in the the energy-saving behavior experiment. The energy saving behavior experiment participated by 3,500 families and based on the demand response (DR) principle is one of the largest experiments in Japan. The peak cut effect by household with panel was 15.2% maximum.
Concerning BEMS, we introduced the “integrated BEMS” system, which controls multiple BEMS as a group, in order to demonstrate 29 sites including large-scale office complexes and commercial buildings with energy creation and storage equipment, in addition to the large-scale city facilities such purification plant and wastewater treatment plane. In this case, the peak cut effect was 22.8% maximum.

The Yokohama Smart Business Association (YSBA) which was established to make use of the knowledge gained by the YSCP and implement those matters that should be pursued, also utilizes national government subsidies. Its 17 participating companies (including Azbil, Taisei Corporation, Tokyo Gas, TEPCO Energy Partner, Toshiba Energy Systems & Solutions Corporation, Minato Mirai 21 District Heating and Cooling, and Meidensha, etc.), are working together to promote both energy-saving and energy-creation activities, etc.

Based on the YSCP demonstration, Yokohama City is currently implementing a Virtual Power Plant Project. The project started in July 2016 with cooperation between the City of Yokohama, TEPCO Energy Partner, Inc., and Toshiba Energy Systems & Solutions Corporation. By installing storage batteries at 36 schools, a virtual power plant was created with the group control of storage batteries. Usually, electricity is stored in these storage batteries and TEPCO Energy Partner utilizes the stored energy in adjusting the energy use volume. In an emergency, the city can use the stored power. Now we plan to extend the number of storage batteries to more schools and public facilities. In the future, we would like to utilize urban resources such as private buildings and EV in the virtual power plant project.

As can be witnessed by such examples of cooperation with stakeholders and the building of win-win relationships, Yokohama’s strengths lie in its ability to raise financial resources and implement projects. In making this application, we would like to share such experiences with Frankfurt as well.

Possible way forward

In addition to actually meeting up at the International Urban Cooperation Program and participating in consultation and inspection activities, by utilizing the Internet to conduct multiple teleconferences, etc., Yokohama hopes to deepen the understanding of one another’s efforts. What is more, Yokohama also feels that cooperation will be promoted by having personnel from its Frankfurt Representative Office visit Partner Cities.
Through this program, in addition to sharing knowledge regarding energy management and hydrogen policies, Yokohama has it in mind to help create projects that heighten the interest of citizens and children.

Regarding business relations, in making use of knowledge that was acquired through the YSCP, the City of Yokohama established the Yokohama Smart Business Association (YSBA) in 2015. What is more, it is now pushing forward with efforts to realize the conceptualization of the energy-recycling city. With respect to the field of exchange in this program as well, Yokohama would like to draw on the knowledge of company participants in YSBA.

Furthermore, with respect to cooperation being undertaken with citizens, Yokohama has the Yokohama Eco School (YES), a citizen-based awareness-raising project launched in 2009. Yokohama would like to utilize this framework in this program.

In addition to memberships of ICLEI, the C40, and the CNCA, Yokohama is currently proactively promoting sustainable urban planning practices in conjunction with a number of overseas cities. By engaging in activities such as publicizing the successes of the projects undertaken by the aforementioned networks, etc., we possess a strong desire to also proactively execute the synergies we have developed over time through engaging in further international cooperation.


Mr. Daisuke Nakayama, Ms. Chika Onodera
Climate Change Policy Headquarters, City of Yokohama
E-mail | on-chosei@city.yokohama.jp
Tel | +81-45-671-2661