The renewable power unit of the nation’s biggest utility plans to spend more than ¥2 trillion ($18 billion) over the next 10 years to boost its green power generation by as much as 70 percent.
The push by Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings Inc. (Tepco) comes as institutions in Japan are under increasing pressure to curb support for coal, both at home and abroad, and as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government seeks to bolster the role of clean power.
The unit, Tepco Renewable Power, plans to help fund its new ventures through a green bond offering that may exceed ¥10 billion and is likely to come before March, 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 within the country and overseas in partnership with other companies.
"To cope with climate change, we are moving toward a carbon-free society,” he said in an interview Wednesday. "Our target is to make renewable energy a main source of power.”
The clean energy spending plans are among the most ambitious from Japanese utilities, which lag global peers in shifting away from fossil fuels.
In March, Tepco established a joint venture with Danish wind developer Orsted A/S to build a project off the coast of Chiba Prefecture.
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 U.K. and Taiwan that would help it in future ventures both in Japan and overseas.
Feed-in tariffs for offshore wind projects in Japan will be set at auctions that have yet to be scheduled. Still, Fubasami said he expects the domestic farms to be the "most profitable” among the unit’s clean power ventures. The company 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 aims to boost profits to ¥100 billion in 2030, from ¥40 billion in the year that ended in March, Fubasami said. Domestic offshore wind projects will contribute to about 20 percent of that future profit, with overseas offshore ventures adding 10 percent.
Hydroelectric projects in and outside Japan will contribute about 15 percent each, with the remaining 40 percent coming from existing generation.
Global interest in green, social and sustainable bonds prompted the unit to explore a green bond issuance, although the timing and size are still being discussed, and the company may seek additional project financing through banks and other institutions, according to Fubasami.
Tohoku Electric Power Co. said in February it planned to price what would be the debut green note for a Japanese utility.
Tepco Renewable Power currently has 170 renewable facilities with a total capacity of 9.96 gigawatts. Of the total, 9.91 gigawatts are from 165 hydropower plants, 30 megawatts are from three solar farms, and 21 megawatts come from two wind plants.