Hitachi Entering Nuclear Power The massive global backlash against nuclear energy has seen a number of top nuclear equipment manufactures like GE, Siemens, Toshiba pulling back. While Siemens and Toshiba have already announced plans to retrench from nuclear energy, GE has also voiced concerns about nuclear power being unviable compared to natural gas and renewable [...]
Solar Energy in Japan has a long future dating back to 1994 when the government introduced capital subsidies to boost solar energy installations on rooftops.Till 2004,Japan was the largest solar market in the world after which it was overtaken by Germany.After 2004,the growth in the solar industry tapered off as the government reduced the subsidies for solar panels to almost zero.The huge domestic market gave rise to Japanese companies like Sharp,Mitsubishi,Kyocera,Panasonic-Sanyo become top solar panel producers in the world.However the low cost Chinese solar module producers have pushed back most of the Japanese companies.Since the last year,the Japanese government has again started giving generous solar subsidies and feed in tariff to boost the renewable energy production in the country which remains far off targets.This has led Japan to become the top non-European market after USA and the growth seems set to continue in the future as well.Japan has relatively low installations costs and is much nearer to grid parity.Also lack of wind energy makes solar energy more attractive as a renewable energy choice.While large scale solar installations in Japan are almsot absent,there remain large numbers of rooftop solar installations.
Sumitomo entered the Wind Energy Business in the US by buying a 42.5% stake in Stanton 120 MW Wind Farm in Texas.The Company already has Wind Assets in Japan and is partnering with Giant Chinese Utility Datang for building Renewable Energy Assets in China.Sumitomo has already built a 50 MW Wind Farm in Inner Mongolia with Datang and Kyushu Electric.Sumitomo is already strong in constructing geothermal plants having built a 140 MW Nga Awa Purua Geothermal Plant in New Zealand in 2 years flat.It also has contracts to build upto 530 MW of Geothermal Plants in Indonesia.In Phillipines the Company has partnered with another Japanese Trading Powerhouse Marubeni to finance Biomass and Waste to Energy Plants.However Solar Energy is strangely missing from Sumitomo’s strategy.It activity till now has been restricted to some small PV plants in Spain and trading of Solar Panels made by Sharp and others.Note other Global Conglomerates like ABB,GE,Siemens,LG,Samsung are in the process of making massive investments into the Green Industry.
Japan is the latest country to raise concerns over the Chinese Monopoly over Rare Earth Minerals.These 17 Minerals are essential for High Technology and Green Industries of the Future and China has a control over 97% of the global deposits of these minerals.The EU had recently warned over the adverse effect over the shortage of these rare minerals while USA is contemplating taking China to the WTO over the same matter.China has defended its action saying that mining of these minerals leads to environmental degradation has reduced the export quota drastically by 72% in the 2nd half of 2010 compared to the First Half.Japanese automakers like Honda,Toyota and Nissan have big plans in the Green Vehicle Sector which uses big amounts of these minerals imported from the mainland.However China’s cracking down over illegal exports and tightening control over these rare minerals has sent down tremors in Japan.
Global hopes of an agreement on Carbon Emissions to stop the advance of Global Warming has been put in the Cold Storage.With little consensus and declining support for Climate Change Mitigation,individual countries are picking up the gauntlet on their own.While Cap and Trade Scheme implement under the Kyoto Protocol has come under fire for irregularities [...]
Note the Solar EPC business typically is a low margin business like the general Enginereering Procurement and Contract (EPC) Sector.A number of Solar Companies like Q-Cells,MEMC,Sunpower and First Solar in recent times have entered this segment to generate a captive demand for their solar products.Nobody derives significant profits from this part of the supply chain due to its lower margin structure.With low barriers of entry and little bargaining power,this part of the Solar Food Chain is the last place you would expect a high technology company like Toshiba to enter.The Nikkei report says that Toshiba wants to enter the Smart Grid business by leveraging its experiece of the Solar EPC business.