Softbank executive wasting no time in developing renewable energy in Japan

As a software distributor in the 1980s and 1990s, Masayoshi Son helped Microsoft and other U.S. companies crack a Japanese computer market then dominated by domestic hardware makers peddling proprietary operating systems.

Masayoshi   Son, chief executive of telecommunications and Internet company Softbank Corp,—whom Forbes lists as the third-richest man in Japan, with an estimated net worth of $6.9 billion—is wasting no time in developing the energy that he feels will power the world, including plans for 10 mega-solar plants in Japan, six of which are either under construction or soon will be..

Softbank so far has agreements with 36 of Japan’s 47 prefectures to develop renewable projects, including plans for solar plants on abandoned farmland in Minamisoma, a city just north of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

Mr. Son also is championing what he calls a “crazy, crazy idea” to connect Japan with other countries in Asia in an electricity “super grid” through which Japan could import wind and solar power from Mongolia. In March, it signed an agreement with Mongolian investment firm Newcom Group and Korea Electric Power Co. to explore a joint wind-power project in the Gobi Desert.

The push for renewables is aimed at cutting reliance on not only nuclear, but pricey oil and liquefied natural gas for energy needs.

Mr. Son is soldiering on. “Let’s connect Japan to other Asian countries, and make them compete,” he told lawmakers in April. “We import oil and gas. What’s wrong with importing electricity?”

Source: Wall Street Journal


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