Japan trade group, Russia-backed fund to sign energy pact

Nikkei, 24.12.2013

Japanese Business Alliance for Smart Energy Worldwide (JASE-W), is expected to sign a memorandum of understanding with the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) in Moscow on Thursday, The Nikkei has learned from an RDIF official.

The agreement between the Japanese industry group and the government-affiliated fund in Russia aims to make the country more energy efficient by introducing Japanese technology. Much of Russia's power supply and transmission infrastructure still relies on obsolete Soviet-era equipment. The Russian government also hopes the initiative will help the country increase gas and other energy exports.

The deal is expected to cover investments in new gas-fired power plants, solar and wind farms, and upgrades to Russia's power grid, including so-called smart grids.

JASE-W was established to promote energy conservation and renewable energy in overseas markets. Its members include a number of power companies and trading houses.

Japan and Russia have been working for the past several months to deepen their economic ties. At a summit in April, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed to reinforce those ties. Toshimitsu Motegi, Japan's trade minister, will visit Russia on Thursday to discuss specific plans with Russian officials, including Economic Development Minister Alexey Ulyukaev.

The memorandum will be signed on the sidelines of the ministerial meeting.