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First Energy sheds solar power project as it focuses on biomass

Tokyo-based First Energy Service Co. has announced that it will shed its sole solar power project and shift its focus to biomass, according to media reports.

According to a report in Bloomberg, the company has restructured its business units to focus on woody biomass facilities. It is also expecting strong government subsidies to continue backing its vision.

First Energy currently operates two woody biomass facilities and it plans to start a new facility in September.

Solar vs. biomass

Speaking to Bloomberg, First Energy CEO, Tomotada Shimazaki, said: “Solar isn’t as exciting a business as biomass.

“Solar does not create jobs or business opportunities in local communities while biomass creates businesses and has a potential for job creation.”

Shimazaki also told the news agency that First Energy was stronger than its competitors because it “has its hands in the entire biomass supply chain – from construction and operation to fuel procurement and resource development”.

Biomass has spurred the interest of clean-energy producers in Japan since the Fukushima disaster in 2011 ushered in a program of government incentives to encourage renewables.

According to the news report, First Energy uses advanced technology to survey and locate wood resources, lowering cost and improving the quality of fuel for biomass facilities. Fuel makes up about 70% of biomass’ total operating costs, according to figures from the Japanese government.