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Toshiba announces shift away from coal-based plant investments

Toshiba announces shift away from coal-based plant investments.
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Toshiba Corp, the Japanese engineering giant, will no longer build coal-fired plants and shift to renewable energy solutions, said the company's president at a press briefing.

The company will continue to service and maintain its existing ten coal plant commitments, but desist from investing in new ones, he said.

"We will stop accepting new orders to build coal-fired plants, and seek to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent by 2030," Toshiba's president Nobuaki Kurumatani told reporters.

Toshiba reaffirms position as an industry leader in energy sector

Toshiba plans to increase investments in renewable energy, especially in offshore wind-power and solar-power facilities, and research and development in related fields.

Toshiba's announcement follows the Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s announcement of Japan going carbon-neutral by 2050. Japan has been a little slow compared to other developed nations in committing to renewable energy. Nearly 40% of Japan’s energy sources are met by fossil fuels.

Kurumatani is hopeful of attracting more business as more countries adhere to the Paris Accord.

As well as selling mega solar and hydropower plants, "we plan to pour our resources into wind power and to produce cutting-edge windmills,” the Toshiba boss said.

Toshiba holds 11% of the global thermal-power generation market, excluding China.

Almost all major corporate entities in the finance and energy business have announced a transition in strategy towards renewables. Mitsui & Co Ltd, a Japanese trading house, has upped its sustainability commitment by recently announcing the sale of its stakes in coal-fired power stations by the end of the decade to reach its 2050 net zero emission target.

Spain's Iberdrola has committed €75 billion euros to clean energy. There are more than 534 sustainable index mutual funds and exchange-traded funds globally, accounting for $250 billion as of June 30, according to Morningstar, a financial website. The global investment in clean energy was $301 billion in 2019.

 Germany’s Siemens Energy and General Electric of the US -- also major players in the energy sector -- have made similar commitments to stop building new coal-fired power stations.

Siemens Energy, said Tuesday that it will stop participating in new tenders for coal-only power plants immediately. It added that it will continue to provide maintenance and supply replacement parts for existing plants.

Siemens too plans to focus on wind farms, power transmission technology, and gas-fired power generation for future growth. CEO Christian Bruch said in a virtual news conference, “Siemens Energy will transition to a more sustainable, growth-oriented portfolio.”

Greenpeace campaigner Daniel Read calling the Toshiba news "heartening" but emphasized that "much work still remains".

"A complete separation from coal, both new and existing projects, and moving wholly to renewables is the only option that makes long-term sense, both financially and environmentally," he said in a statement.

Japan’s reliance on coal-fired energy increased after the Fukushima nuclear disaster following a Tsunami in 2011.

A top Japanese government spokesman Katsunobu Kato said that working towards carbon neutrality would benefit both the economy and environment.

"Taking measures to address global warming no longer fetters growth, but is a source of competition for companies," he said.

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