Japan

Japan

New company in a new market, ambitious plans

Aiming at constructing large scale integrated wind farms producing electricity at competitive prices a new company will be established in Japan in July. Eco Power Ltd plans to install wind turbines at 20 locations and expects a turnover of JPY 1-10 billion a year by 2001.

The company is to be set up by Ecology Corp of Tokyo and Sachio Senmoto, a professor at Keio University Graduate School. Initial share capital is JPY 40 million, but the founders of Eco Power hope to increase this to over JPY 100 million already this year by inviting investment from major local companies and venture capital companies. In the future Eco Power will also ask electric utility companies to become shareholders.

According to Takeru Kojima of Ecology Corp, Japanese utilities only pay JPY 16/kWh for wind power, just covering the production cost of JPY 10-15/kWh. One way to increase profit is to cut costs through development of larger integrated wind farms.

Kojima is to be the president of Eco Power and Senmoto chairman. They plan to invest JPY 900 million in three wind turbines -- one of them rated at 1 MW -- over the next year, to be installed on Ibaraki and Aomori prefectures. Next they plan to target the northern prefectures, Hokkaido and Tohoku. Eventually they are planning subsidiaries in 20 prefectures to handle the local wind business, inviting local companies and public institutions to become shareholders. Eco Power says it will mainly use wind turbines from Denmark.

Since 1991 Ecology Corp has been the sole agent for Danish firm, Micon A/S. The company has so far sold 18 Micon wind turbines, mainly in northern Japan. There are about 30 wind turbines operating in Japan today, several of which are older demonstration or research models of Japanese origin.

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