(Repeats for wider distribution, no change to text)
* Buys 100-MW Tokyo-area gas plant
* Japan embarking on major power market reforms
* Aims to lift domestic capacity to more than 360 MW
TOKYO, Jan 10 Marubeni Corp has bought
a Tokyo-area 100-megawatt (MW) gas power plant, the Japanese
trading house said on Friday, as it looks to take advantage of
major reforms in store for the nation's power sector.
The company is also aiming to add another 200 MW of domestic
capacity by 2016 when the nation's electricity market will be
completely liberalized, bringing its thermal and hydro-power
generation capacity in Japan to just over 360 MW, a company
An increase in power production could help lower power
prices, but it would also increase competition for regional
monopolies like Tokyo Electric Power Co as they deal
with the fallout of the Fukushima nuclear crisis.
The purchase from Japan's independent F-Power was first
reported by the Nikkei business daily earlier in the day in a
article that said Marubeni was also looking to build two
gas-fired and two coal-fired thermal plants, all within the 100
MW capacity range in the Tokyo metropolitan area by 2016.
The Nikkei also wrote, without citing sources, that Marubeni
was planning to build more fossil-fuel plants after 2016 as well
as large-scale solar and wind-power plants outside the Tokyo
area in hopes of ramping up its domestic power generation
capacity to 1,500 MW by 2020.
A separate Marubeni spokesman said nothing had been decided
at this time and the report was not based on information they
had released, declining to comment further.
The Japanese government passed legislation last November
that called for the establishment of a national grid by 2015 and
the liberalisation of the power market for homes by 2016, as
part of steps to reform the nation's electricity sector.
Looking to sell into the power market, more than 125 firms,
including companies such as Toyota Motor Corp and
Panasonic Corp, have registered to be independent power
sellers with the government.
Households and corporations have also expressed interest in
electricity from non-traditional power firms after rates and
distrust have risen of Japan's regional power monopolies
following the massive March 2011 quake and tsunami that caused
reactor meltdowns and radiation leaks at the Fukushima Daiichi
(Reporting by James Topham; Editing by Joseph Radford and Matt