Tuesday, June 19, 2012

No. 59: A British wind generator maker is coming to Japan (June 20, 2012)

Business trend
Evans Wind Turbines, a British small-sized wind generator maker, will develop the market in Japan in alliance with Zephyr. The company has 30% share in the small-sized wind generator market in Great Britain. Zephyr will collaborate with Evans and build Evans’ R9000 that has an output of 5 kW as Evans’ original equipment manufacturer.

The price is not decided yet, but will supposedly be around several million yen. The R9000 can be featured by few troubles because of the simple structure to spin windmills. Zephyr will sell Evans’ product not only in Japan but also in the Asian region. It plans to sell 200-300 R9000s in the next three years.

Wind generation has several advantages over photovoltaic generation despite the higher initial investment: 1,500,000 yen vs. 520,000 yen. The former can generate as long as wind exists, whereas the latter can generate only during daytime hours. The former has annual generation per kW of 1,460 kW/h, whereas the latter has annual generation per kW of 1,000 kW/h. What is more, the purchase price of wind generation is 57.75 yen per kW, whereas that of photovoltaic generation is 42 yen per kW.

In Japan, the small-size wind generator is defined as a generator with an output of less than 20 kW. At present, 75% of small-sized wind generators installed in Japan have an output of less than 1 kW because nearly all installed small-sized generators are for generation only for internal use. As of the end of 2010, 9,500 small-sized wind generators were at work, only 2.5% of which were connected to the power network of an electric power company. 

R9000 wind generator from Evans Wind Turbines of Great Britain 

Saturday, June 16, 2012

No. 58: Japanese photovoltaic generation technology goes to Canada (June 16, 2012)

Business trend
Three Japanese companies, Osaka Gas, Mitsubishi Corp., and Sharp, will build a total of nine mega solar power plants in the eastern part of Ontario of Canada with an investment of 35 billion yen, and jointly operate them to accumulate know-how on the operation and management of a mega solar power plant. The nine plants will have a total generation capacity of 100,000 kW. The three companies will jointly establish an independent power producer in Canada with a capital of about 10 billion yen, of which Osaka Gas and Mitsubishi Corp. pay 45% each and Sharp pays the remaining 10%, shortly in Canada. They are scheduled to build three plants in 2012, and the remaining six plants by the end of 2013.

They have already concluded a contract with Ontario Power Authority to sell generated electricity for 0.44 Canadian dollars (about 35 yen) for 20 years. At the strong request of the Ontario authorities, the project will employ Canadian solar panels. The annual output is scheduled to be more than 100 million kW that is enough for the annual power consumption of more than 10,000 households. The purchase price of 35 yen is rather high, and it is currently second highest following the price of 42 yen set by the Japanese government. Osaka Gas is actively investing in the renewable energy business to make it as a new mainstay. The wind power generation plant it built in Australia in alliance with Marubeni has been operating since June 2011. 

 The mega solar business developed by Sharp in Italy

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

No. 57: NTT participates in the photovoltaic generation business (June 13, 2012)

Business trend
NTT will participate in the photovoltaic generation business through one of its subsidiaries, NTT Facilities, utilizing its idled land. It plans to build about 20 mega solar power plants by the end of 2014. The total generation capacity will be 60,000 kW, making NTT the company with the biggest generation capacity in Japan. Total investment will be about 15 billion yen. The 60,000 generation capacity can supply electricity to about 20,000 households.

The law to purchase electricity generated by renewable energy will be put into effect coming July. The Japanese government proposed a plan to buy electricity of photovoltaic generation for 42 yen per kW for 20 years. Because NTT can expect profits from electric power selling to be 2 billion yen annually, it can recoup its investment in 6-7 years. Starting this summer, NTT will operate 6 mega solar power plants in succession until the end of next January with a total generation capacity of 11,000 kW.  

One of Japan's largest distribution and complex facilities designed and developed by NTT Facilities in Kanagawa Prefecture