According to Nikkei, Japanese trading house Mitsubishi Corp. will start selling renewable electricity certificates that buyers can use as offsets for their energy consumption. The first buyer is Murata Manufacturing, an electronic components maker and one of major Apple suppliers.
This will be Japan's first case of a virtual power purchase agreement. Mitsubishi will invest more than US$74 million to develop 70 megawatt solar power plants in Japan by the end of March 2026 and then separately sell renewable energy certificates to those who want to use them as offsets.
The purchaser of a certificate might not necessarily use renewable electricity but the certificate still acts as an offset.
Murata Manufacturing said in an announcement that through this cooperation, they have agreed to procure 70,000 kW of power derived from renewable energy sources from Mitsubishi by 2025 and pursue the goal of using 100% renewable energy by 2050.
Mitsubishi will first sell certificates worth 100 million kilowatt-hours, and they will be gradually increased to 300 million kWh, or about 10% of Murata's annual power use.
Global companies are putting more efforts in decarbonization. Apple, for example, has set a plan to achieve virtually zero carbon dioxide emissions from the production and use of its products by 2030. The tech giant has also asked its business partners to use 100% renewable energy. Those who fail to achieve this could lose their deals. Murata, a major supplier of Apple, is also hurrying to respond to the requirement.
Virtual power supply agreements are already widely used in the U.S. and Europe. McDonald's, the largest fast-food chain, has purchased certificates worth a total of 380 megawatts from several different renewable power plants to achieve clean energy targets. AT&T and EBay have also adopted similar method to meet their climate targets.