It was the so-called “Enron scandal (2001)” I experienced when I was working in the United States that got me interested in the energy industry. Through the bankruptcy of an energy company, Enron, which became the largest in the American market, I experienced firsthand the large flow of the times, the liberalization of electricity market, but still, I thought it was a story in a distant world, which had nothing to do with me.
In Japan, however, there has been a growing momentum toward the antinuclear movement since the occurrence of Great East Japan Earthquake and the shift to renewable energy and the movement of electricity liberalization have been accelerated immediately. The electricity industry, which was said to be more bureaucratic than bureaucrats, is now forced to experience a transformation such as separating power generation and transmission and, in Japan as well, the time has finally come for small and medium-sized companies as well as individuals to participate in the energy business.
Joining in the energy business, I observed the energy business in European, Asian and Middle Eastern countries and what impressed me most was the small-scale biomass power generation project in Germany. In Germany, as a part of Energiewende (revolution) for denuclearization, large-scale biomass power plants emphasized on efficiency were built one after another in the beginning, but there were many cases that they came to a standstill due to the problem in securing fuel and that of price stability.
On the other hand, however, its regionally-oriented small-scale power plant became the new core of local economy and was contributing in a significant way to the revitalization of local communities. I was convinced that this was what energy business for sustainable society was supposed to be. The compact village concept with the locally-generated and locally-used biomass power generation as in Germany at its heart could be an effective instrument for responding to depopulation and recreating the local region in Japan with decreasing population and contribute to the activation of regional funds flow and the reduction in administrative costs.
Our company is currently testing a regional revival project with the energy business in Japan as its core and promoting multifaceted renewable energy business in overseas countries such as the Philippines. In the energy business in overseas countries, for example, the small hydroelectric power generation has the advantage that it can secure a place with much shorter extension distance of water conduit than that in Japan and the biomass power generation can contribute in a significant way to solve regional agriculture problems and to the new development of regional economy including the transformation of industrial structure. As a part of overseas business, we are also promoting a business plan to set up a base to supply woody biomass fuel, which is difficult to secure in Japan with declined forestry, to Japan.
Our company belongs to an academic community of economics and a private research group of a professor who is a key figure in the field of environmental economics and has a broad network with practitioners of renewable energy in various areas. Making use of a wide variety of human resources and abundant experience in solar photovoltaic power generation, our company hopes to contribute to the creation of sustainable society and the development of renewable energy business with our regionally-oriented mind and global perspective.