Countries in every region of the world are turning to renewable energy as the answer to reducing environmental footprint and diversifying energy. Eurus Energy Holdings Corporation has started operation of a large-scale solar power generation plant in Hawaii in January 2017. Eurus is a joint venture of Tokyo Electric Power Company (40%) and the Toyota Tsusho Group (60%), which Toyota Tsusho invested in based on its awareness of current trends. It’s a perfect marriage between local needs and our Group’s know-how.
Solar Power in Paradise Contributing to Hawaii’s energy supply and environment
Channeling investment into renewable energies
Beginning in the 1970s, nations around the world began to devise new ways of promoting renewable energies. Two prominent systems to emerge were the Feed-in Tariff (FIT) system and the Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS), both of which Japan has also adopted.
After these systems took root, investment in renewable energies began to surge from the mid 2000s. In 2015 alone, global investment in renewable energy development reached about US$280 billion.
Most of this most recent investment has been in photovoltaic and other solar power as well as wind power. The combined amount of solar and wind power generation reached a record high in 2015.
There is no sign of slowdown in investment. The cost of building power plants is declining and the profitability is increasing, portending continued growth of renewable energies.
- FIT : Feed-in Tariff
- Governments mandate that electric power companies procure electricity from renewable energy sources at a specified price for a specified period.
- FIP：Feed-in Premium Reference
- Electricity is sold at market price and fixed subsidies correspondent to the environmental value are offered to producers to reduce the procurement cost of renewable energy electricity. Countries in Europe are gradually transitioning from FIT to FIP.
- RPS：Renewables Portfolio Standard
- Governments require electric power companies to purchase a certain amount of electricity from renewable power sources. The purchase price and period are decided on by bids from the power companies.
Hawaii’s budding demand for renewable energy
The Toyota Tsusho Group started full-fledged planning for its solar power generation business in 2012, with Eurus Energy America playing the principal role and then built one of the largest solar power energy plants in Hawaii on the island of Oahu (EE Waianae Solar Project LLC), launching operations in 2017.
Hawaii’s energy problems served as the impetus for the project.
Hawaii has scarce fossil fuel energy resources and has traditionally been dependent on importing energy resources. The islands have been particularly reliant on oil, and consequently hostage to its price fluctuations. Not only has the environmental burden been great, but the electricity costs for residents have been three times the average on the U.S. mainland.
The Hawaiian state government has sought to overcome this problem by gradually raising the ratio of renewable energies. The state’s Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) has the bold aim of raising the ratio of renewable energies to 100% by 2045. This means that 100% of the electricity sold by power providers will be derived from clean energy friendly to the Earth’s environment.
Hawaii is blessed with solar, wind, geothermal and other natural energies. New wind power projects have emerged in the southern and northern tips of Oahu, while new solar projects are being planned on the western side of the island, which enjoys plenty of sunshine. Today, projects on Oahu are helping the island raise its ratio of renewable energy even faster than the RPS plan.
Eurus Energy America and Toyota Tsusho America : Partnership for Success
Working with and for the local community
The Hawaiian community is unique, with strong links among companies, towns, and residents in many different aspects. This gives rise to many issues. One example was the construction site location. By contrast, Eurus Energy America’s wind farm in Kansas, U.S. is located far outside town, creating a physical gap between the business and the community. In Hawaii, the solar farm is located close to a residential area, which poses various construction challenges.
Eurus Energy America approached the community by building trusted partnerships with a broad range of stakeholders. The goal was to construct a new power system consistent with the goals of all the different stakeholder groups.
From the start, this project was designed and constructed in a manner that was intended to positively impact the local community. Two important benefits to the community are the planned donation of a specific parcel of land for community use and the new jobs created for maintenance and operations type activities. In addition to these direct benefits, we also hold facility tours for community members and make relevant portions of the site accessible for cultural activities.
Constant communication creates the best partnerships
In selecting its investment partner, Eurus Energy Holdings took its time to find an opportunity to work with Toyota Tsusho America, and they have continued coordination to develop an investment and business environment that will be optimal for both parties. Our San Diego office held many meetings with TAI to hammer out the contract and complete Toyota Tsusho America’s due diligence process. After years of constant communication, both Eurus Energy America and Toyota Tsusho America were confident that this was an ideal partnership to pursue this project.
Earnings forecasts and risk management are essential parts of project finance. Project partners must create and exchange larger numbers of confidential and complicated documents. By partnering with Toyota Tsusho America, we could tap the advantages of working with a Group company to make efficient progress and ensure that the processes did not have a negative impact on the project as a whole.
Eurus Energy America’s mission is to provide highly efficient and reliable renewable energies to customers and communities and facilitate business growth through sustainable manners. We want to use the valuable lessons we’ve learned through our collaboration with TAI to strengthen ties with the Toyota Tsusho Group and its global network and resources. Working together, we can realize the promise of clean renewable energy for communities around the world.