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Mitsui to build megasolar farm in Philippines with local partner

Japanese group embarks on first such venture in Southeast Asia with $60m project

Mitsui & Co. handles megasolar projects in the U.S. and Mexico. (Photo courtesy of the company)

TOKYO -- Japanese trading house Mitsui & Co. has chosen the Philippines as the site for the company's first megasolar project in Southeast Asia.

Mitsui has formed a renewable energy joint venture with Philippine utility Global Business Power. The solar project in the northern province of Rizal is expected to cost roughly 7 billion yen ($64.4 million), with Mitsui to foot about 40% of the bill.

The megasolar farm, to be completed in March 2022, will generate 115 megawatts of electricity. The power will be sold to Manila Electric, the country's largest distributor, over two decades.

Global Business Power's current plants burn heavy oil, coal and other fossil fuels. Mitsui, involved in U.S. and Mexican megasolar projects, will bring its expertise in renewable energy to the table.

The Philippines, home to over 100 million people, is expected to experience some of the greatest growth in electricity demand among Southeast Asian countries.

But coal plants dominate the power mix while renewable energy contributes just over 20%. Plans call for expanding the share of renewables to 35% by 2030. Global Business Power and Mitsui anticipate demand for solar power.

Mitsui has responded to the global shift toward decarbonization by engaging in solar and offshore wind power projects in the U.S. and Taiwan. The Japanese company was involved in coal plants in Indonesia, Malaysia and elsewhere in Southeast Asia, but said in November it would negotiate sales of those interests.

For its entire power generating profile, Mitsui plans to raise the share of renewables to 30% by the end of the decade, up from 15% in 2019.

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