Toshiba to give wind power generation a whirl


Toshiba Corp. is planning a major push into the wind power business.

One of its wholly owned subsidiaries plans to acquire Sigma Power Janex Co., a spinoff of wind power operator Japan New Energy Explorer Co., or Janex, in mid-November for billions of yen.

Toshiba said Tuesday it decided to make the move because wind power is expected to become more profitable under the feed-in tariff program, which requires utilities to buy power generated from renewable energy sources at fixed prices.

Toshiba will be the first Japanese general electric equipment manufacturer to enter the wind power business.

Sigma Power Janex is set to take over Fukuoka-based Janex’s two wind farms in Kyushu, one in Kagoshima Prefecture and another in Nagasaki Prefecture.

In addition, the company will start operating a wind farm being built in Kagoshima Prefecture in 2014 and plans to build four more in Miyagi and in Yamaguchi and Ehime.

Toshiba entered the solar power business in April.

In a related move, Softbank Corp. affiliate SB Energy Corp.,and trading house Mitsui & Co. said Tuesday they will jointly run a huge solar plant in Hokkaido.

Construction of the 111-megawatt complex will start next month, with operations to begin in winter 2015. The plant will be built on a 166-hectare site in the town of Abira. The site is owned by Tomatoh Inc., a public-private entity engaged in development projects in and around Tomakomai, Hokkaido.

It will be the biggest solar plant in the Softbank group.

Annual output is estimated at 108 million kwh, enough to power about 30,000 households. All electricity generated at the plant will be sold to Hokkaido Electric Power Co.