Japan steps up overseas investment in renewables

Japan is investing increasingly heavily in overseas renewable power, particularly wind. That’s according to a new report from the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA), which suggests momentum […]

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By Jonny Bairstow

Japan is investing increasingly heavily in overseas renewable power, particularly wind.

That’s according to a new report from the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA), which suggests momentum is shifting away from an overreliance on imported thermal power to clean projects in foreign countries.

It says this trend was evidenced most recently by this month’s announcement that Kansai Electric and TonenGeneral would scrap a plan to build a 1GW coal power plant in Chiba.

A similar decision in February by Kansai Electric saw the Ako 1.2GW coal fired power station proposal scrapped.

The report says the interest in overseas wind power is prompted largely by negative domestic interest rates.

Japan’s banks especially have been attracted to renewable energy infrastructure investments abroad by their strong annuity yields backed by long term power purchase agreements from utilities.

According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group were the two largest lead arrangers globally for clean energy asset financing in the first 10 months of 2016.

Elsewhere, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries is building capacity in offshore wind turbines worldwide via a joint venture with Danish wind turbine manufacturer MHI Vestas.

The world’s largest companies could save the equivalent of Japan’s annual CO2 emissions.