On the Relationship Between Renewable Energy Institute and SGCC

10 April 2024

in Japanese

(original Japanese version published on 8 April 2024)

In relation to the incident concerning the inclusion of the logo of the State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC) in the slides for the Renewable Energy Task Force meeting, Renewable Energy Institute has received and responded to several questions from a number of ministries and government agencies about the relationship with SGCC.

There have been groundless defamatory statements made against the Institute and personal attacks on its executive and staff members regarding its relationship with the Chinese government and SGCC, mainly on social networking sites. In particular, Director Ohbayashi has been repeatedly targeted with unfounded and false allegations, resulting in threatening messages being sent to her.

SGCC is the largest power utility and grid operator in China, and there have been various forms of cooperation and exchanges between Japan's major power companies and the power industry, as noted at the bottom of this page. Referring to previous exchanges between the Institute and SGCC and using them as a basis for criticism is a futile exercise.

In light of this, the Institute has decided to publish a summary of the report submitted to the Japanese government.

Our aim is to ensure that the true nature of Renewable Energy Institute is accurately understood.

Highlights of the Report

About the Asia Super Grid Concept

  • The Asia Super Grid concept announced by Renewable Energy Institute in September 2011 was conceived as a solution to the problems in Japan's power system revealed by the Great East Japan Earthquake of March 2011 and the accident at TEPCO's Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.  It is not in any way intended to be a project for the benefit of China.
  • In October 2011, Japan Policy Council, chaired by Mr. Hiroya Masuda (currently President of Japan Post), proposed the Asia-Pacific Power Grid Initiative (the energy version of the TPP), which is similar in concept to the Institute's Asia Super Grid.
  • The initiative was also discussed and considered by the Japanese government in 2013-2018. In particular, since 2017, the then Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, stated in the Diet that the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy (ANRE) and the Russian Ministry of Energy had conducted joint studies and discussions on international grid connections between Japan and Russia.
  • GEIDCO, an international non-profit organization, was established in 2016 for global transmission interconnections under the initiative of SGCC, five years after the Institute announced the Asia Super Grid concept. The Institute decided to join GEIDCO, with Steven Chu, former US Secretary of Energy as Vice Chairman, and with the participation of utilities from around the world, global players in power grid construction such as ABB, Siemens, Hitachi and GE, and financial institutions such as Morgan Stanley.
  • The aim of the joint study and discussions conducted in 2017 by ANRE and the Russian Ministry of Energy on an international grid connection between Japan and Russia, was to ensure energy security and lower electricity prices in Japan, not to provide benefits to Russia. The Institute's research on the AsiaSuper Grid was similarly undertaken as a measure to address the problems in Japan's electricity system. The allegations that the Institute acted in the interests of China, based on the fact that it carried out studies and discussions on the Asia Super Grid between 2011 and 2019, are completely unfounded. The Institute is not conducting any research in this area at present.

Interactions with SGCC and GEIDCO

  • There was some interaction between the Institute and SGCC/GEIDCO during the 2016-2019 period when discussions on the Asia Super Grid took place, but even during this period it was a limited part of the Institute's overall activities with other countries, foreign companies and stakeholders around the world. Moreover, there has been almost no exchange of any kind since 2020.
  • Since the establishment of the Institute in 2011, a total of 106 public events (symposia and seminars) have been held. The total number of speakers is 1166. Of these, only 26 speakers, or 2.33%, were from China.
  • Institute staff have participated in numerous symposia and other events organized by governments, companies and other organizations in Europe and the US, with around 120 occasions in the last financial year 2023. The number of occasions to participate in symposia and other events related to the Chinese government and enterprises remains at four in FY2019, and a total of only 17 occasions since its establishment in 2011.
  • Staff have travelled abroad a total of around 300 times since the Institute was established. Just over 10% of these trips have been to China (including Hong Kong, but not Taiwan).
  • There are no personal relationships between the Institute or its staff and the Chinese government or companies.

Financial Relationship Between Renewable Energy Institute and the Chinese Government and Companies

  • Since its establishment, the Institute's income has not included any donations, grants, subsidies, outsourcing fees or any other income from the Chinese government or companies, regardless of what they are called.
  • From its establishment in 2011 to 2015, the Institute's financial resources were almost entirely funded by our founder Masayoshi Son's initial donation of  1 billion yen.1
  • At the board meeting of Renewable Energy Institute held on 19 May 2016, it was reported that Masayoshi Son had expressed his intention to donate 400 million yen per year for the next five years. The Institute received donations of 400 million yen per year for 2016-2019, 300 million yen for 2020, 150 million yen for 2021, and 100 million yen for 2022. The total amount for the seven years exceeds the amount originally expressed and amounts to 2.15 billion yen, bringing the total amount since the Institute's establishment to 3.15 billion yen. This indicates that Masayoshi Son's donation is the Institute's main source of funding. Other income includes private grants, outsourcing income, small individual donations and scientific research grants, which are now the main source of funding.

Relationship Between SGCC and Japan's Power Companies and the Power Industry

The following are some examples of the SGCC's interaction with Japan's power companies and the industry associations, which are available on the internet (accessed on 7 April 2024).

■TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings)
Signing of MOU with SGCC on technical consultation for 1 million V power transmission (in Japanese)
TEPCO's interaction with China (in Japanese)
Technical consulting contract signed with SGCC for the design of a two-circuit 1 million V transmission line (in Japanese)

■KEPCO (The Kansai Electric Power Company)
Order Won for Power Line Communication (PLC) Internet Equipment in China

■YONDEN (Shikoku Electric Power Company)
Implementating exchanges with Northwest Electricity Network Co Ltd (formerly State Electricity Company Northwest) (in Japanese)

■KYUDEN (Kyushu Electric Power Company)
International exchanges, Cooperation MOU

■Japan Electric Power Information Center
Shouhe Zhao, Chief Representative of Japan Representative Office of SGCC gives a lecture
International Exchange Activities

■Consortium for Electric Power Technology
List of Members  (in Japanese)

External Links

  • JCI 気候変動イニシアティブ
  • 自然エネルギー協議会
  • 指定都市 自然エネルギー協議会
  • irelp
  • 全球能源互联网发展合作组织

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