A Japanese clean energy shopping spree

A leading Japanese trading house is spending plenty on renewables in Europe, while utilities in the EU suffer from weak power demand. Elsewhere, nuclear is on the outer and EU carbon prices edge higher.

Japanese trading house, Marubeni Corporation, is having a busy summer: on August 5, it announced it had agreed to buy at least a 25 per cent stake in Ireland's Mainstream Renewable Power. The $US133 million ($A145 million) Mainstream deal will make Marubeni the second-biggest shareholder in the company, which has developed over 19GW of solar and wind projects in seven countries. Yesterday, The Irish Times reported that the Japanese conglomerate could receive additional shares if Mainstream does not sell its North American business before March 31.

The purchase will be the largest single equity investment in Marubeni's history but will not be its first foray into Europe: it already has business interests in the offshore wind industry and the electricity supply business.

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