Japan’s Tepco makes renewables new decade-long priority

Asia’s fourth largest electric utility, Tokyo Electric Power  Inc., will expand its renewable energy operations in the face of global warming issues and growing energy consumption in the region.

In a recently issued 10-year business plan, Tepco said it will bring power generation from non-fossil fuel sources to more than 50 percent of its entire portfolio from the current level of 33 percent.

Tepco will bankroll these renewable energy and other low-carbon projects with 2.5 trillion yen ($29 billion).

Tepco is Japan’s leading carbon dioxide emitter, spewing 68,920 tons of carbon dioxide annually. As of 2001, the utility’s maximum power output was 64.3 gigawatts.

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The company said it will increase renewable energy sources by 2020 to 400 megawatts and 1,750 MW of power generated at home and overseas, respectively.

Tepco aims to increase profit from its overseas businesses to 70 billion yen by 2015, and double it to 120 billion yen by 2020.

The company recently pledged to cut its carbon dioxide emissions per unit of generated electricity by 20 percent by March 2013 to help Japan meet its emission reduction target under the Kyoto Protocol. This amounts to about 10 million tons of discarded emissions.

Japan’s power companies accounted for more than 300 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 to 2006, or 28 percent of Japan’s total.

Japan, the world’s fifth largest carbon polluter, largely relies on fuel imports, with more than half of its total energy supply coming from oil and 20 percent from coal.

According to the United States Energy Information Administration, 13 percent of the country’s energy source in 2005 was from hydropower and only 1 percent was from other renewable energies.

Tepco currently has three solar photovoltaic power plants and one wind energy project, the Higashi-Izu.

But it said it will increase participation in uranium and liquefied natural gas projects, as well as in thermal and nuclear, to stabilize supplies and provide cheaper power.



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