SoftBank Clean Energy Unit Plans to Invest in Offshore Wind Farm

Apr 03, 2014 11:53 pm ET

April 4 (Bloomberg) -- SoftBank Corp.’s clean energy unit plans to invest in an offshore wind project by Wind Power Energy Co., a Japanese developer of wind power.

Wind Power Energy plans to set up a 90-megawatt station off the coast of Ibaraki prefecture, north of Tokyo, said Shinobu Komatsuzaki, executive vice president of the Ibaraki-based company.

SB Energy Corp. and a clean energy fund set up by the Japanese government will provide funding to conduct assessments needed before construction, Komatsuzaki said by phone today.

“We intend to invest in the project,” Kenichi Yuasa, a SoftBank spokesman, said by phone. Details regarding SB Energy’s participation need to be worked out, he said.

The move would be SB Energy’s first investment in offshore wind, according to Yuasa. SB Energy, which has been developing solar stations across the country, is building an onshore wind power station in western Japan.

The plan comes as Japan introduces a higher rate for offshore wind power compared with onshore beginning this month to promote the technology.

The government fund will provide 500 million yen ($4.8 million) for the offshore project, a quarter of the 2 billion yen needed to conduct studies, according to a statement released last week by Green Finance Organization, the body overseeing the government fund.

In 2012, Ibaraki prefecture picked Wind Power Energy and Marubeni Corp. to develop two adjoining offshore wind stations with a combined capacity of 250 megawatts. The companies initially proposed jointly developing one station and later decided to revert to the original plan to build two separate stations, according to the prefecture.

Wind Power Energy plans to add 35 megawatts of capacity later, Komatsuzaki said.