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Japan's JERA creates global renewables-focused unit in Britain

FILE PHOTO: The logo of JERA Co., Inc., the world's biggest LNG buyer, is displayed at the company office in Tokyo

By Nina Chestney

LONDON (Reuters) - Japan's largest power company JERA Co. has created a global renewable energy business to be headquartered in London, as it seeks to increase low-carbon investments to meet decarbonisation targets, the head of the new unit told Reuters.

Named JERA Nex, the unit will develop, invest in, own and operate renewable energy projects such as onshore and offshore wind, solar energy and battery storage.

Starting with a 3 GW portfolio of renewables assets, it aims to develop 20 gigawatts (GW) of renewables capacity by 2035 and is considering investments across the globe as well as in its home market Japan, its chief executive Nathalie Oosterlinck said.

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She said the unit would focus on adding capacity through selected acquisitions and partnerships as well as developing projects alone.

JERA is a joint venture between Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings and Chubu Electric Power Co Inc. It aims to achieve net zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2050.

Last year, it bought Parkwind, Belgium's largest offshore wind platform.

A consortium made up of Parkwind and IKEA store owner Ingka won the first Norwegian auction to develop a 1.5 GW offshore wind farm in the southern Norwegian North Sea last month.

In the second round of Japan's offshore wind tenders late last year, JERA also won rights to develop a 315-megawatt wind farm as part of a consortium with Electric Power Development, Itochu, and Tohoku Electric Power.

For the longer term, Oosterlinck said floating offshore wind was an ambition as the water depths around island nations, such as Britain and Japan, make them well-suited to it.

"It will take some time to further develop but we are looking at floating and potentially projects in Japan," Oosterlinck said.

(Reporting by Nina Chestney; editing by Barbara Lewis)