The Japanese conglomerate said it will ramp up the amount of electricity generated by renewable energy in its net power supply from about 10% to 20% by 2023, according to an online statement. It did not elaborate on the role that solar might play in the expansion of its renewables business.
“Marubeni will reduce its greenhouse gas emissions volume from its power generation portfolio,” the Tokyo-based group said, explaining that it will not invest in new coal-fired generation projects “as a general principle.”
The announcement follows a story by The Nikkei, published over the weekend, claiming that Marubeni would withdraw from coal-fired power development in favour of a renewed focus on clean energy investments. The group plans to expand its energy trading business in line with this strategic shift, partly through its SmartestEnergy unit, which is a wholesale and retail electricity reseller. The wholly owned group subsidiary manages roughly 3 GW of energy assets in the U.K., with renewables making up about 80% of its portfolio. It purchases electricity from a range of independent generators, including London-based Magnetar Solar, which operates 300 MW of PV capacity.
Marubeni’s net overseas generating capacity — including solar, wind and micro-hydropower capacity —was roughly 11.8 GW by the end of March, while its net generating capacity in Japan stood at 454 MW. The group recorded a profit of JPY 211.3 billion in the fiscal year to the end of March, up 36% year on year. Revenue rose to JPY 7540.3 billion, according to its last annual report.
In early 2017, a consortium led by Marubeni and Chinese PV module supplier JinkoSolar signed a deal with the Abu Dhabi Water and Electric Authority (ADWEA) to develop the 1.177 GW Sweihan solar project in the United Arab Emirates. At $0.0242/kWh, their 25-year PPA was among the lowest such deal ever signed for a utility-scale PV project.
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