Utility, trader to launch first overseas geothermal project


Kyushu Electric Power Co. said Thursday it will launch a geothermal power generation project in Indonesia with trading house Itochu Corp.

This marks the first overseas geothermal power generation project by a Japanese electric power company. Kyushu Electric said a power plant will begin operating as early as late 2016 and all of the electricity generated there will be sold to an Indonesian state-run utility.

Construction of the plant, with a capacity of about 330,000 kw, will begin around April 2014 on the island of Sumatra, according to Kyushu Electric.

Kyushu Electric and Itochu said they will each have a 25 percent stake in the project, and the remaining investment will come from PT Medco Power Indonesia, a major Indonesian energy firm, and Ormat Technologies Inc., a U.S. generator manufacturer.

In 2007, the Japanese utility exchanged a memorandum of understanding with the three companies on the investment in the project in Indonesia, which has abundant geothermal resources.

The utility plans to raise funds for the project from the government-backed Japan Bank for International Corporation and the Asian Development Bank and repay debt with revenues from sales of electricity.

Kyushu Electric, which has been struggling due to higher fuel costs for thermal power generation amid the suspension of its nuclear power plants, aims to stabilize its business foundation with revenues from overseas operations.

The company operates Japan’s largest geothermal power plant, with generation capacity of 110,000 kw, in the town of Kokonoe in Oita Prefecture.

The Indonesian government plans to increase geothermal power generation capacity by 10 times from 2005 levels to 9.5 million kw in 2025.

Tepco execs to take one-month pay cuts over blackout


Tokyo Electric Power Co. President Naomi Hirose and two other executives will have their April pay cut by 5 percent to take responsibility for a power outage at its crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant last month, according to the embattled utility.

The two others are Executive Vice President Zengo Aizawa and Managing Executive Officer Akio Komori.

Tepco reprimanded four other officials, including Managing Executive Officer Mamoru Muramatsu, who is in charge of public relations.

The power outage happened on March 18 at the plant, the site of the nation’s worst atomic plant catastrophe, temporarily knocking out cooling systems at spent-fuel pools. It took the company more than 24 hours to restore all of the affected systems.

Tepco has said the outage resulted from a short circuit caused by a rat, which got into a provisional switchboard.

The government has instructed Tepco to take steps to prevent similar incidents.

Hirose apologized to Fukushima Gov. Yuhei Sato at the prefectural office Tuesday. The plant suffered three reactor core meltdowns after the March 2011 megaquake and tsunami hit.

Tepco has been under fire for a delay in the disclosure of information about the power outage and slow restoration work.