Founder of Japanese telecom company Softbank, Masayoshi Son, to invest 10B to 20B yen to develop wind, geothermal, solar power generation via new business that will launch next spring; Son also says Pan-Asia smart grid needed

LOS ANGELES , September 13, 2011 () – A new company to be set up next spring by the founder of Japan’s telecom company Softbank Corp. plans to invest 10 billion to 20 billion yen (US$129 million to US$257 million) in renewable energy projects, reported Reuters on Sept. 12.

Wind and geothermal, as well as solar, power will likely be major parts of the new business, said Masayoski Son on Monday, marking the launch of the Japan Renewable Energy Foundation, which he founded.

The new company will reinvest any returns on its renewable energy investments for 40 years, said Son. He is seeking partners to help raise several hundreds of billions of yen for projects, Reuters reported.

Wind energy has an especially “good cost performance” globally, said Son, the billionaire founder of Softbank, which is the third largest mobile phone operator in Japan, where it also distributes Apple Inc.’s iPhone.

Son indicated that potential investors will remain reluctant to participate in renewable energy in Japan until the country decides on key details of its recently enacted legislation requiring that utilities buy electricity from renewable sources, reported Reuters.

The growth of Japan’s renewable energy sector will stagnate “if the utilities can refuse to buy,” said Son.

Japan also needs to lead a push to build a smart grid linking all of Asia to different energy sources and users, said Son, noting that it might take 20 to 30 years but clearly “needs to be done,” Reuters reported.

The primary source of this article is Reuters, London, England, on Sept. 12. 2011.

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