United Wind Announces Investment, Partnership With Japan’s Largest Electric Utility, Tokyo Electric Power Company
United Wind, one of the world’s leading distributed wind project developers, announced a partnership today with Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, Inc. to bring its unique wind leasing model to the rapidly growing distributed wind energy market in Japan. The partnership includes a recently completed growth equity investment by TEPCO into United Wind, as well as plans to jointly develop distributed wind projects in Japan starting in 2017. “United Wind recently closed its Series B growth equity round which included investments from global energy leaders Statoil and Total – we are now thrilled to announce TEPCO has joined our team,” said United Wind CEO and Founder Russell Tencer. “Japan’s distributed wind market has the potential to be significant in scale, thanks to an aggressive small wind feed-in-tariff (FIT), which works well with our leasing model.”
“Japan faces tremendous energy production challenges in the near future and, TEPCO is committed to meeting those challenges by expanding access to renewable sources of power generation,” said Hirokazu Yamaguchi, Executive General Manager, Global Innovation & Investments at TEPCO. “United Wind’s innovative leasing model will help us to facilitate distributed wind energy adoption on a large scale and we are eager to partner with United Wind’s team to that end.”
Japan’s FIT was established in 2013 in response to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in order to incentivize a diverse mix of renewable energy projects. At the end of 2015, there were 312 small wind projects representing close to 4.6 MW of capacity approved for the FIT. In 2015, wind turbines of up to 20 kW received 55¥ ($0.51 USD) per kWh and turbines of 20 kW and greater received 22¥ ($0.21 USD) per kWh (METI 2015). Japan currently has an estimated capacity of approximately 280 GW of onshore wind power.
United Wind is the leading distributed wind project developer in the United States. The company’s proprietary wind analytics platform and first-in-the-industry leasing model allow its customers to utilize on-site wind resources to reduce their monthly electricity bill without any upfront costs. To date, United Wind has raised over $225 million in project finance capital from investors such as Forum Equity Partners, U.S. Bank, New York Green Bank, GSG Financial, and Pacific Rim Capital to deploy its WindLease model throughout the U.S.