May 17, 2020

Japan to Pass 'Explosive Growth' Renewable Energy Bill

Japan
pass
law
bill
Admin
2 min
Japan’s Parliament readies approval of an energy bill that will spark ‘explosive growth’ in renewable solar and wind
Solar and wind companies, set your sails for Japan! The country is about to pass a landmark bill into law that will see “explosive growth&rdquo...

 

Solar and wind companies, set your sails for Japan!  The country is about to pass a landmark bill into law that will see “explosive growth” in both solar and wind energy investment according to Prime Minister Naoto Kan.  The bill is designed to reduce Japan’s dependence on nuclear power, which accounts for roughly 30 percent of the country’s energy generation.  Japanese lawmakers are readying to sign the bill into law by the end of August. 

The bill has been developed and promoted by Prime Minister Kan himself, and seeks not only to move away from nuclear dependence, but also break the energy monopoly held by the country’s 10 major utilities. 

The legislation calls for installed renewable energy capacity to rise by at least 20 percent of the country’s total power by the early 2020s.

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The bill will require utilities to purchase power from outside providers, such as cooperatives and private companies.  The rule aims to promote the use of alternative energy sources, which currently only make up 9 percent of Japan’s total electricity supply.

Japan’s Energy Minister will be responsible for setting the prices at which utilities must purchase power from renewable energy generators.  Unfortunately, this will likely translate to higher electricity prices for manufacturers, who are still trying to recover from the crippling effects of the earthquake and tsunami.

Prime Minister Kan had been pursuing this kind of legislation prior to the catastrophe that led to the Fukushima reactor meltdown, but with little support.  However, the meltdown quickly changed the country’s view of nuclear power, and Kan’s bill has gained immense support since.  Kan has noted on various occasions that he would not leave office until the law was enacted.  The passage of the bill in the coming weeks may mark the final feather in the cap for the relatively unpopular Prime Minister, allowing him to step down with a sense of accomplishment. 

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May 17, 2021

USS pension fund buys 50% stake in Bruc Energy

Pensionfunds
Investment
Renewables
spain
Dominic Ellis
3 min
USS will invest €225M in return for a 50% stake in Bruc Energy and 4,000MW pipeline of solar PV farms

The Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) private pension fund has taken a 50% stake in Bruc Energy, a Spain and Portugal renewables-focussed investment vehicle created by OPTrust and Spanish businessman, Juan Béjar. 

In the transaction arranged by USS Investment Management, the wholly-owned subsidiary and principal investment manager and advisor to the Scheme, USS has invested €225M (c.£200m) in return for the stake in a major pipeline of 4,000MW of PV farms. Bruc Energy has an ambitious growth plan that goes beyond this to invest in other green energies, such as wind power.

USS, which announced two weeks ago its aim to be net zero by 2050, already has a strong relationship with both OPTrust and Juan Bejar through Globalvia, a specialist infrastructure platform focussed on managing rail and highways assets around the world. 

Spain’s sun-drenched climate and national target to reach 100% renewable-based generation by 2050 make it an attractive place to invest in solar energy. In addition, the decades long lifespan of solar PV panels make them well-suited to USS in helping pay members’ pensions long into the future.

USS Investment Management CEO, Simon Pilcher, said: “We are delighted to be committing further finance to renewables and particularly to a major Spanish solar platform like this. We have already invested or committed around £1 billion to renewable energy and demand for this will only increase as more and more countries transition to lower carbon. We know that our members care very much about climate change and ESG and we are convinced that USS playing its part in supporting the transition to a low carbon economy makes good financial sense, too. This announcement closely follows on from our stated ambition to become Net Zero by 2050 so this transaction and others like it will be a key plank of our strategy going forward.”

Gavin Merchant, Co-Head of Direct Equity, said: “We have worked alongside OPTrust and Juan Béjar for many years and are delighted to be making this investment. The long-term nature of solar and the steady returns make renewables attractive to a pension scheme needing to pay pensions for years to come.” 

OPTrust’s Morgan McCormick, Managing Director, Private Markets Group UK said: “We are excited to have USS join Bruc Energy building on our strong existing relationship. Their investment will help Bruc become one of the leading renewable energy platforms in Spain. At OPTrust, we believe that investing in renewable energy helps transitions the world to a more sustainable economy. In doing so, we can continue to deliver on our mission of paying pensions today and preserving pensions for tomorrow.”

Béjar said the partnership is a key step to establishing Bruc as one of the more dynamic players in the renewables industry in Spain, because it ensures access to the funds to develop our current portfolio. "All three shareholders of Bruc Energy share a long-term vision, but also the ambition and the social responsibility to counter the effects of climate change in the short-term," he said.

Following the transaction, which remains subject to conditions, including regulatory approval, Bruc Energy will be owned 50% by USS and BROP, a vehicle owned by OPTrust and Béjar. The transaction was advised by Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), Greenhill and Nomura. Juan Béjar will be the president of Bruc Energy and Luis Venero the CEO.

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