An aerial photo of the Galloper offshore wind farm in the UK

Japanese companies set to invest billions in UK’s offshore wind, green hydrogen

Japanese giants Marubeni Corporation, Sumitomo Corporation, and Sumitomo Electric Industries have committed to investing a total of GBP 14.2 billion (approximately €16.3 billion) in offshore wind and green hydrogen projects, and the offshore wind supply chain in the UK.

Ahead of the UK Prime Minister’s business reception in Tokyo on 18 May, the UK government announced that leading Japanese businesses have committed to invest GBP 17.7 billion (approx. €20.3 billion) in businesses and projects across the UK.

Of this, GBP 14.2 billion has been committed by Marubeni, Sumitomo and Sumitomo Electric for projects in offshore wind, green hydrogen and offshore wind supply chain.

Marubeni plans to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the government, under which the company intends to pour approximately GBP 10 billion (approx. €11.5 billion) of investment in the UK with its partners over the next ten years.

The Japanese company’s investment plans include offshore wind projects in Scotland and green hydrogen projects in Wales and Scotland.

Marubeni, which last year opened its first office in the UK (in Glasgow, Scotland) to support offshore wind and green hydrogen projects in the country, is developing what could become one of the world’s largest floating wind farms in Scotland, together with SSE Renewables and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP).

Furthermore, the UK will also see new investments from Sumitomo Corporation, which intends to expand its UK offshore wind projects. This would lead to a total investment of GBP 4 billion (approx. €4.6 billion) in projects off the coasts of Suffolk and Norfolk, which the company plans together with its partners.

Sumitomo Electric Industries has also announced its decision to build a high-voltage cable manufacturing plant in the Scottish Highlands. The plant marks more than GBP 200 million (approx. €230 million) in investment and is estimated to create 150 jobs.

“This investment will help the UK build resilient supply chains for critical infrastructure such as offshore wind projects and support UK developers to enhance their contribution to UK growth”, the UK government stated in a press release.

Back in 2019, Sumitomo established a fund dedicated to overseas offshore wind projects together with Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC) and Development Bank of Japan. The fund acquired the assets Sumitomo Corporation held in the Race Bank and Galloper offshore wind farms in the UK as seed assets.

The Japanese company is also one of the project partners behind the Five Estuaries offshore wind project, a proposed extension to the operational Galloper wind farm.

As for Sumitomo Electric Industries, the company has also already been involved in the UK’s offshore wind sector. In 2021, the company was awarded an export cable supply contract for the Gwynt y Môr offshore wind farm, after failures were detected in sections of the project’s existing export cable.

The remainder of the announced GBP 17.7 billion in investment from Japanese companies in the UK will be made by Mitsubishi Estate and Mitsui Fudosan, who plan to invest GBP 3.5 billion (approx. €4 billion) in projects that will build affordable housing, high-quality office space and a life-science laboratory in London, which is expected to support thousands of jobs and help to revitalise areas of the capital, according to the government.