Enviva Partners, a global renewable energy company specialising in sustainable wood bioenergy, and Tokyo-based utility Electric Power Development, known as J-Power, have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for the long-term, large-scale supply of sustainable wood biomass from Enviva’s manufacturing facilities in Southeast US to J-Power’s coal-fired power plants in Japan.
The agreement is designed to develop an executable and investable plan under which Enviva will build new infrastructure to produce and deliver up to 5 million tonnes of sustainable wood pellets annually to permanently replace coal in J-Power’s existing coal-fired power plants, significantly curbing the utility’s greenhouse-gas emissions. The MOU provides a framework to advance the role of biomass as a renewable and sustainable energy source and help J-Power meet its “Blue Mission” goal to be carbon-neutral by 2050.
“Climate change is a global challenge requiring a global solution. Enviva has an established track record of delivering a dependable, scalable, and sustainable product, which today delivers substantial and deep decarbonisation of energy to generators and industrials around the world,” said Thomas Meth, co-founder and executive vice president of sales and marketing at Enviva. “We are delighted that our partnership with J-Power can help this leading utility in Japan reach its climate goals with reliable, baseload energy that complements the intermittency of wind and solar.”
Under the agreement, the parties will jointly evaluate the most sustainable and cost-effective means to deliver on the potential of the coal-to-biomass conversion project, such as security of supply, port reception, delivery and storage logistics, safety measures, and project economics. The investment will leverage J-Power’s existing coal-fired power plants by re-purposing them via conversion, resulting potentially in both dedicated as well as co-fired biomass plants.
Biomass provided by Enviva under the agreement will be certified under the European Union’s (EU) current sustainability criteria, which maintains and improves long-term forest health, growth, and capacity. The EU’s sustainability standard guarantees biomass is only sourced from sustainably managed forests that are regenerated, ensuring that carbon stocks are stable or growing, that forest harvesting is legal, and prevents sourcing from nature protection areas, taking soil quality and biodiversity into account.