Last July, Masayoshi Son, president of Tokyo-based SoftBank Corp announced plans to build a 200 megawatt solar farm and a 500-turbine wind farm on the island of Hokkaido in the north of Japan. 

The wind farm just about equals the size of a conventional nuclear reactor and will have an output of one gigawatt.

Son’s announcement reinforces a pledge he’d made previously, a pledge to kick-start a conversion to renewable energy in Japan.  “When I make a public commitment, I always keep my word,” he said.

The Japanese government plans to phase out nuclear power by 2040.  In addition to employing renewable energy, the government is investigating the use of thorium instead of uranium reactors in their nuclear plants.

Much of the 30% of the nation’s electricity nuclear power had provided has been replaced by fossil fuels.  Additionally, Japan has instituted energy conservation measures.   

SoftBank Corp is Japan’s third-largest mobile phone company.  Its wind farm installation could make it the country’s largest producer of wind power.

Company spokesman Kenichi Yuasa says SoftBank is discussing plans with local officials and measuring how much output is needed by surrounding populations.

Source:   WSJ MarketWatch July 1, 2012    SmartPlanet September 19, 2012      Bloomberg  September 14, 2012                                                           



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