A woody biomass power plant, "Tomakomai Biomass Power Plant," started commercial operation April 28, 2017.
The power producer of the plant is Tomakomai Biomass Power Generation (Tomakomai City, Hokkaido), a firm jointly invested in by Mitsui Co Ltd, Iwakura Corp (Tomakomai City), Sumitomo Forestry Co Ltd and Hokkaido Gas Co Ltd.
Woody chips are provided from forest areas in Hokkaido with an aim to realize the local production/local consumption of energy. This was announced May 12, 2017.
The plant was installed on about 14,000m2 of land adjacent to the headquarters of Iwakura in Harumi-cho, Tomakomai City. Based on the feed-in tariff (FIT) scheme, all the electricity generated at the plant is sold to Hokkaido Gas Co Ltd.
The output of the plant is about 5.9MW. The plant is expected to generate about 40,000,000kWh of electricity, which is equivalent to the amount consumed by 10,000 households in Hokkaido, per year.
The biomass power plant is expected to create demand for about 6t of wood per year, contributing to the promotion of forestry in Hokkaido through the improvement of forest environments and local revitalization through job creation, according to the announcement.
The investment ratios of Mitsui, Iwakura, Sumitomo Forestry and Hokkaido Gas are 40%, 20%, 20% and 20%, respectively. Mitsui supplies unused wood from "Mitsui Bussan's Forest," about 35,000ha of forest land that Mitsui owns in Hokkaido, as part of the fuel for the project. Also, Mitsui & Co Foresight Ltd (Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Mitsui, is responsible for the operation and maintenance of the plant.
The Sumitomo Forestry group started to run forests in Hokkaido in 1917. Also, it started operation of "Kawasaki Biomass Power Plant" (an urban power plant that uses construction waste materials, etc as a main fuel) in February 2011 and "Mombetsu Biomass Power Plant" with an output of 50MW in Mombetsu City in December 2016. The group plans to expand its renewable energy-based power generation business to 200MW by March 2019.