Japan was confirmed this morning as British clean electricity generator Octopus Energy’s foothold into more Asian expansion.
Greg Jackson’s privately held behemoth-in-the-making announced today its first major Asian investment, pumping up to £10 million into Japanese PV developer Yotsuya Capital, now tasked to develop 250MWp of solar farms by 2028.
The British group indicated that further investments are in its pipeline, both in Japan itself and “across the continent”.
Today’s announcement comes within days of Britain signing up alongside Japan as the only European member to date of the Asia-focussed Comprehensive and Progressive Trans Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). Senior UK trade officials are due to visit Japan in coming weeks. While citing CPTPP, the company’s announcement made no mention of Brexit.
Renewables at present account for around 20% of Japan’s electricity generation. Its government is aiming to nearly double this to 38% this decade, en route to hoped for Net Zero status by mid-century.
Tokyo’s policymakers see an expansion of renewables as a one tool in their economic repair kit to shake off the slumbering giant’s three decades of economic under-performance.
Consultants Wood Mackenzie calculated last month that Japan will need around $147bn investment in renewables and storage to reach its 2030 energy aspirations.
Greg Jackson’s ‘gaijin’, or foreigners, entered Japan’s energy market in 2020, launching a joint venture with local energy retailer Tokyo Gas. The new challenger provides 100% green electricity to households and recently crossed the 160,000 customer mark. It aims to serve 1 million Japanese households by 2026.
“This funding from Octopus is transformational for us”, said Yotsuya Capital’s CEO Toshiaki Isoi. “It means we can accelerate our growth to the next level and develop much more solar across Japan in the coming years.”
Hajime Nakamura, CEO of Octopus Energy in Japan, commented: “We are incredibly proud of the pace at which we’ve been able to grow our retail business here,
“This decision to invest in renewable energy power development is the next logical step on Octopus’ path to increasing its footprint in Japan, and a meaningful step to accelerate the green energy revolution across the region
His boss Zoisa North-Bond, CEO of the British firm’s generation division, was equally excited: “There’s a huge opportunity to help meet Japan’s renewables targets and accelerate its clean energy transition.
“This investment in fast-growing solar developer Yotsuya is our first step into Asian renewables – and it’s only the beginning”, she added. “We’ve got big plans to scale our team in Asia, and invest in and build even more green power across the continent.”
An investment team based in Singapore headed by Shamik Chatterjee scans Asia for Octopus’ future Asian investments.