China Energy News: Listen to the Voice of SEP on CCTV Feature Series 'The Belt and Road with Me'

The latest series of "The Belt and Road with Me" from the program of "International Financial News" on CCTV2 told a story of SEP Japan's construction and development in Ibaraki prefecture of Japan as well as the personal life experience of Moriyama Hirotoshi, the main character of the story, in the process of project construction and the changes brought from the project construction to local residents. Let's take a look inside this feature series titled "Cooperation and win-win enables Chinese electricity enterprise integrate into Japanese society".


As one of the world's largest economies, Japan is a high energy consumption country with its energy supply heavily relied on imports. After the Fukushima nuclear accident in 2011, Japan has been resorting to green energy such as solar energy and wind power with urgent demand.


While the international community has been actively participating in China's Belt and Road Initiative, Japan is unwilling to look on. SPIC, as a centrally-administered SOE with good operation model and win-win cooperation concept, has gradually gained a firm foothold in the electricity industry in Japan with an extremely high barrier.


Ibaraki prefecture, 60 km from Tokyo, is well-known for agricultural production, especially for rice, lettuce, lotus, etc., with the total cultivation area ranking the second in Japan. Local residents live on agriculture for generations, but with the aggravated problem of aging population, the average age of the farmers is about 70, and large quantities of farmland has been abandoned due to lack of successors.


Moriyama Hirotoshi, aged 36, has been working in SEP Japan Co., Ltd. under the flag of SPIC for four years. In the end of 2014, the company put forward an idea of utilizing a piece of abandoned farmland located in Ibaraki to build a solar power plant. Moriyama was mainly in charge of handling all kinds of administrative formalities needed for the project commencement, including communication with around 200 local households one by one. However, it was not easy to acquire unanimous understanding and support from the local residents.


"I considered it a mission impossible when I was first assigned this task. Especially for those Japanese natives by birth, their first reaction was saying 'No' to a foreign enterprise seeking to rent their land," said Moriyama Hirotoshi, deputy head of Project Promotion Department of SEP Japan.


"We felt a little worried when we heard that it was a Chinese enterprise at first. But in the process of continuous communication, we found that they were very sincere and honest," said a local farmer in Ibaraki prefecture.


Thanks to the joint efforts by Moriyama and his colleagues for more than two years, a large-scale PV power plant invested and constructed by SEP Japan, located at the foot of locally-known Tsukuba Mountain, was put into operation in April 2017, where approximately 20,000 PV panels with a total installed capacity of 35 MW were installed on the vast farmland with total area of 54 hectares, and all the equipment are made in China. The PV power plant could offer electricity to 10,000 households for a whole year. Through lending abandoned farmland, local farmers could not only obtain rent income 10 times that of ordinary farmland, but also share a certain proportion of electricity sale.


In order to develop green energy while preserving the local crop farming to the greatest extent, SEP Japan helped local farmers to plant Korean ginseng under the support brackets of PV panels. The Korean ginseng, introduced from Yanbian of China, is growing quickly. Thanks to the largest agriculture-PV hybrid power plant in Japan, the local economy has been injected with new vitality, and the farmers have returned to their farmland. Moriyama felt gratified for bring benefits to a large number of farmers by his own efforts. Although his father owns a real estate company and he used to help with the family business, Moriyama would prefer to build up his own career.


SEP Japan started from scratch with no resource and no project to having completed construction and thrown three PV power plants into operation so far, from which Moriyama has learned a lot. As all circles of Japan started to actively participate in the Belt and Road Initiative towards which they once adopted a cautious and complicated attitude, Moriyama and his colleagues have become more and more confident in their own career.


Diao Xu, General Manager of SEP Japan said, "Through our efforts in the past four years, we have built a staff team with a harmonious relationship between Chinese and Japanese employees both of whom are capable of work. The company has secured a fairly firm footing in the Japanese electricity industry, laying a solid foundation for the future development.


"I often have business trips between Tokyo and Shanghai. Every time I overlook the night scene of Tokyo from the airplane, I find it extremely beautiful. Having experienced the Great East Japan Earthquake in March 2011, I have realized that every brightly-lit night doesn't come easy. The Belt and Road construction is not only in Africa and Southeast Asia, it is also quite close to us, and is getting closer and closer," said Moriyama.


The 2.4 MWp Nanko Osaka PV Power Plant, the first power plant invested and constructed by SPIC in Japan, was honored the "National High-quality Investment Project Award in 2016-2017" by China Investment Association in 2017. So far, the company has newly acquired the project commencement permits for two PV power plant, two wind power plants and a biomass power plant besides three projects already in operation. In addition, SPIC is scheduled to finish the construction of the largest PV power plant in Japan till now in Fukushima for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020. 

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