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Sparx Group President: Renewable Power Sources Will Become Very Valuable After FIT (1)

2018/04/14 19:47
Kenji Kaneko, Nikkei BP Intelligence Group, CleanTech Institute
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The Sparx Group has developed approximately 350MW of renewable energies at 25 locations, with a focus on mega (large-scale) solar power plants, and operates a fund with a total project cost of roughly 200 billion yen (approx US$1.86 billion). Leading mega solar construction and operation based on a fund scheme and with a leading track record in this field, the company was selected as the management company of a public-private partnership renewable energy fund operated by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government.

We interviewed Shuhei Abe, president of the Sparx Group, and asked him about the company's business strategies for the future.

Capital circulates through the fund

Q: The Sparx Group is an investment management company that handles funds, but the company has been developing a series of large-scale projects connected to extra-high-voltage transmission lines from soon after the start of the feed-in tariff (FIT) scheme as a mega solar developer.

Abe: We began to develop mega solar power plants at the same time as the start of the FIT scheme. One reason behind this is that we were familiar with this field. In addition, we believed for a long time that a combination of the FIT scheme and funds is a good method for construction of infrastructure.

Actually, we formed a "smart grid fund" about eight years ago and invited investment from foreign countries including oil-producing ones. On this occasion, we performed a survey on domestic companies related to the smart grid and found that companies that develop and operate wind power plants were among them.

Our activities seem to have been highly evaluated, and we were selected as one of the members of the Energy and Environment Council established by the Democratic Party government and discussed policies on renewable energies. We suggested at a meeting of the council that it would be ideal for a FIT scheme to be introduced and a scheme that allows investment by the general public in renewable energy funds to be realized.

As soon as the FIT scheme was started, we began to develop renewable energies and invited investment from the general public by forming a fund because we wanted to put the theory into practice.