Goldman Sachs to build biomass power plants in Japan

The Goldman Sachs Group is set to expand into Japan’s biomass industry, according to an article by Nikkei Asian Review.

Japan Renewable Energy, a solar power company established by Goldman Sachs, intends to build new biomass plants at ten or more locations by 2020, investing roughly 40 billion yen (€326 million). It is projected that the total power generation capacity of the new facilities will reach 70,000kw.

The Nikkei Asian Review states that Japan Renewable Energy’s expansion into biomass is motivated by declining profit margins in its main operations. Feed-in-tariffs put in place by the government to encourage investment in wind and solar have roughly halved since 2012, greatly reducing the industries’ profitability.

Construction on the first of the biomass plants will begin on 13 June in the city of Kamisu, Ibraki Prefecture, on the site of a former factory. With construction set to finish in April 2019, the 24,400kw facility is expected to generate 200 million kilowatt hours of electricity a year by burning woodchips.

Because biomass power is less dependent on weather conditions than wind or solar, the Japanese government wants to triple the total power generation capacity of biomass from 2014's levels to 7.28 million kilowatts by 2030, according to Nikkei Asian Review.

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