Sumitomo to invest 1.5 tril. yen in next-generation energy projects

Major Japanese trading house Sumitomo Corporation plans to invest 1.5 trillion yen, or 9.5 billion dollars, in a variety of next-generation energy projects through 2030.

President and CEO Ueno Shingo revealed the strategy in an interview with NHK on Friday, saying: "The company has a unique competitive advantage in this business sector. We will focus on that and assign more management resources to these fields."

The firm will build about 10 power storage stations across the country. Such facilities are used to help stabilize supplies of solar energy.

Sumitomo next spring will start up one of the country's largest wind power projects in Fukushima Prefecture.

In addition, the trading company intends to expand its business operations with Japan's power generation companies.

Sumitomo says it has an advantage in renewable energy businesses because it has experience in multiple sectors in the industry.

Ueno says the firm has reached the point where it can make rapid progress in the field: "Even if such businesses don't seem profitable in the short term, a careful investment strategy will bring returns over the longer term. Also, these sectors are contributing to solving social issues."

Ueno says that Sumitomo is considering additional investments in new energy projects.