JERA aims to develop 1 GW solar power in Japan over 5 years

FILE PHOTO: The logo of JERA Co., Inc., the world
FILE PHOTO: The logo of JERA Co., Inc., the world's biggest LNG buyer, is displayed at the company office in Tokyo, Japan July 14, 2017. REUTERS/Issei Kato

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's biggest power generator JERA said on Wednesday it will spend 160 billion yen ($1.4 billion) to develop one gigawatt (GW) of solar power farms in Japan over the next five years by joining with local energy developer West Holdings Corp.

The move marks JERA's entry into a local solar power market and comes as part of its plan to expand its renewable energy capacity to 5 GW by 2025 from about 1.5 GW now to help combat climate change.

"We want to become Japan's biggest solar power operator," Satoshi Yajima, JERA's managing executive officer, told reporters.

Under the collaboration, JERA will ask West Holdings to build solar power farms at about 7,000 sites, including former JERA power plant sites, and will sell the electricity to corporate customers seeking clean energy.

JERA plans to buy a minority stake in West Holdings later this year, Yajima said.

JERA, a thermal power and fuel joint venture between Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings and Chubu Electric Power, holding about 70 GW thermal power capacity, aims to achieve net zero emissions of carbon dioxide by 2050.

The two companies will also consider developing solar power farms outside of Japan, they said.

West Holdings has developed about 65,000 solar power projects of around 2 GW in capacity in Japan and Thailand.

($1 = 114.5500 yen)

(Reporting by Yuka Obayashi, Editing by Louise Heavens)

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