October 9, 2019 / 10:26 AM / 15 days ago

Japan's JERA to buy 49% stake in Taiwan's offshore wind project

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan’s power generator JERA Co said on Wednesday it will buy a 49% stake in the Formosa 2 offshore wind project in Taiwan from Macquarie Capital for an undisclosed sum, in a bid to expand its renewable energy portfolio.

JERA, a joint venture between Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings (9501.T) and Chubu Electric Power Co (9502.T), already holds a 32.5% stake in Taiwan’s first commercial offshore wind project Formosa 1, which has 128 megawatts (MW) capacity.

The latest investment on the 376 MW project, due to start operation at the end of 2021, will boost JERA’s renewable energy capacity through its equity holdings to 1.2 gigawatts (GW), a step closer to its 2025 renewable target of 5 GW.

JERA declined to disclose the size of investment, but its general manager, Ken Matsuda, said the total cost of the Formosa 2 project is expected to be a “few hundred billion yen”.

The company is also considering investing in the bigger Formosa 3 project, Matsuda said.

“Formosa 3 is still in the early discussion stage and has not been decided, but we are in talks with parties involved with an aim to take a 30-40% stake in the 2 GW project,” Matsuda told a news conference.

If agreed and approved by authorities, the Formosa 3 project is expected to start operation over 2026-2030, he added.

JERA, Japan’s biggest thermal power generator, is also eyeing investment in offshore wind projects in Japan, Matsuda said.

Japanese utilities are stepping up investment in renewable energy projects as they face growing pressure by investors and environment activists to divest coal-fired power plants as well as increasing demand for greener energy from their key customers.

Reporting by Yuka Obayashi, editing by Deepa Babington

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