Japan’s largest utility plans to develop 7 gigawatts of green power
The renewable power unit of Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings Inc (Tepco) plans to spend more than 2 trillion yen (US$18 billion) over the next 10 years to boost its green generation by as much as 70 percent.
Japan’s largest electric utility comes as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government seeks to bolster the role of clean power, while the nation faces increasing pressure to move away from coal.
Tepco Renewable Power plans to help fund its new ventures through a green bond offering that may exceed 10 billion yen (US$92 million) and is likely to come before March 2021, according to President Seiichi Fubasami. Offshore wind and hydro generation are the unit’s primary focuses as it seeks to develop 7 gigawatts of green power capacity in Japan and overseas in partnership with other companies.
The clean energy spending plans are among the most ambitious from Japanese utilities that lag global peers in shifting away from fossil fuels. Despite being home to numerous engineering firms that export power generation infrastructure, Japan doesn’t yet have a commercial offshore wind farm and will need to lean on other countries’ expertise to build out capacity.
Tepco in March of this year established a joint venture with Danish wind developer Orsted A/S to build a project off the coast of the Chiba prefecture, near Tokyo. Jera Co, a joint venture between Tepco and Chubu Electric Power Co said in December 2018 it was buying stakes in wind projects in the UK and Taiwan that would help it in future ventures in Japan and overseas.
The company also aims to develop as much as 3 gigawatts of domestic offshore wind capacity in the next decade. Developing that type of clean electricity is seen as key to meeting a government target of obtaining nearly a quarter of the nation’s power from renewables by 2030, up from 17 percent in the year that ended in March, 2019. Natural gas generated 38 percent with coal at 32 percent and nuclear at 6.2 percent.
Tepco Renewable Power currently has 170 renewable facilities with total capacity of 9.96 gigawatts. Of the total, 9.91 gigawatts are from 165 hydro power plants, 30 megawatts are from three solar farms, and 21 megawatts come from two wind plants.