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Osaka Gas, Smart Energy Team on Local Green Power Plants

2014/01/23 23:44
Kenji Kaneko, Nikkei BP CleanTech Institute
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Osaka Gas Co Ltd announced Jan 20, 2014, that Energy Bank Japan (EBJ) Co (Chuo Ward, Osaka), its wholly-owned subsidiary, tied up with Smart Energy Co Ltd (Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo) and agreed to promote the installation of power plants using locally-available renewable energy sources.

Osaka Gas established EBJ in April 2010 and started to offer financial schemes that allow power producers to install renewable energy-based power generation facilities without an initial investment. Based on this service, EBJ established a scheme for power generation business by combining technical evaluation, engineering and maintenance of power generation facilities. And it is running power generation businesses in collaboration with local governments, etc.

By the end of December 2013, the company had concluded contracts to install about 26MW of solar power generation facilities.

On the other hand, Smart Energy provides support and consultation to companies in their efforts to reduce CO2 emissions as well as services of certifying the reduction of CO2 emissions. In 2007, it established "Energy Bank Management," a domestic fund for reducing CO2 emissions, together with Development Bank of Japan (DBJ) Inc and Osaka Gas.

Also, commissioned by the Cabinet Office in 2012, Smart Energy established "Carbon Management Academy" (general incorporated association) in the aim of growing "carbon counselors," who, in close relation with local communities, cooperate with concerned parties and promote the activities aimed at the reduction of CO2 emissions. And it turned out about 2,000 carbon counselors across Japan.

With the latest tie-up, EBJ will provide power generation schemes to Smart Energy, which will then promote small- and middle-scale solar-, water- and wind-power and biomass-based power generation projects across Japan that have not been commercialized yet. Specifically, to promote the commercialization, Smart Energy, after receiving the power generation schemes, collects information about the installation of renewable energy-based local power generation facilities via carbon counselors who have experience of working for local companies or governments to utilize their schemes and know-how for power generation projects.

Also, for commercialization, an SPC (special purpose company) will be established, and power generation projects will be maintained and operated mainly by local carbon counselors in the aim of creating jobs.

As for the status of the introduction of renewable energy-based power generation facilities in Japan, though many large-scale facilities are being installed, few small- and middle-scale solar-, water- and wind-power and biomass-based facilities are being installed because of the lack of capital and human resources having know-how to promote the installation of them.