Rising populations and improved living standards are driving a steady increase in the demand for electricity throughout the world, subsequently resulting in a rising need for stable power supplies. Water resources, meanwhile, face certain problems, as populations are not always located in areas with easy access to water resources. This situation is further compounded by population growth and climate change, often meaning that people in emerging countries are unable to secure stable supplies of safe drinking water. These factors also create issues for resource-rich countries as water shortages have been known to impede the progress of development projects.
Moving quickly to respond to these trends, Marubeni began participating in overseas engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) projects for generation facilities and transmission lines in the electricity field during the 1960s. In the 1990s, Marubeni utilized its experience in overseas EPC projects to move into the field of overseas independent power producer (IPP) projects. In the early 2000s, the Company started its full-fledged advance into the independent (water) power producer (I(W)PP) sector of the Middle East. In the years that followed, IPP projects grew increasingly more diverse, and Marubeni continued to undertake new business models and develop new technologies to keep pace with the evolution of this field. This led the Company to participate in the electricity wholesale business in the United Kingdom as well as in renewable energy projects worldwide, domestic power producer and supplier (PPS) projects, which involve power companies of a specified scale, and power transmission businesses. Marubeni's operations in the water field can be traced back to the 1990s with its participation in build, operate, and transfer (BOT) projects—projects that are transferred to government control after being started up and operated for a specified period. In the 2000s, the Company began taking part in concessions—projects that entail entrusting all aspects of business operation, including assets and revenue rights, to private operators—in Latin America, China, the Middle East, Australia, and Southeast Asia. Going forward, Marubeni's goal is to be a major player in the global water market, similar to its position in the electricity market. Through its power generation and water businesses, Marubeni aims to become a major global player in the public utility field. For this position, the Company will expand the scope of its business and develop its operations to achieve ongoing growth while also contributing to the social and economic development of the countries and regions in which it operates.
In the power generation field, Marubeni's strength lies in the diverse portfolio of IPP projects it has undertaken, which encompasses 48 projects in 22 countries overseas. With this substantial portfolio, Marubeni has grown to become one of Japan's largest power producers, with 10,436 MW net generating capacity worldwide (as of March 31, 2014). Furthermore, as an EPC contractor, it boasts a robust track record backed by a history of more than 50 years in this business. While building this track record, Marubeni has honed its ability to pull complicated projects together for successful execution as well as its expertise in arranging financing. The Company's cost competitiveness has also improved. These strengths have enabled Marubeni to achieve an industry-leading position in the area of power plants.
In the water field, Marubeni currently supplies water to approximately eight million people around the world. It meets their needs by investing in companies that possess desalination and sewage treatment technologies. Marubeni's rich business experience and its supply scale have led it to participate in a wide range of water businesses, including water and sewage projects, desalination projects, and even fully integrated water businesses. By developing this multifaceted portfolio, we are effectively responding to growing water demand.
We believe that the most important aspect of our power and water businesses is to provide a supply of power and water that is safe and stable. To accomplish this goal, we invest directly in power and water projects in countries worldwide, and continue to operate these facilities for periods of 20 to 30 years after they are constructed. This approach allows us to provide a stable supply of power and water while also laying roots in the regions, thereby enabling us to coexist with the surrounding communities, contributing to industrial and social development while continuing to grow. One example of our contributions can be seen in the San Roque Hydropower Plant located in the Philippines. A portion of the revenues generated by this facility is allocated to a social contribution fund, which uses these revenues to support schools, foster industries, and develop agricultural land. This project has thus proven to be a win for both the community and our business. In Chile, meanwhile, more than 1,000 employees from our water and sewage operations are contributing to local communities. One initiative advanced in this area is the provision of job training for local residents within our operating area. Moreover, a convoy of water supply trucks was dispatched immediately after an earthquake in April 2014, effectively shortening the amount of time the community had to go without water. Through these committed efforts, Marubeni is creating new value.
In our power business, Marubeni is expanding the scale of operations to become a truly global power supplier. Aiming to solidify the foundation for generating stable revenues over the long term, we are developing this business through a multifaceted approach that includes improving the operation and management of existing assets and boosting power generation efficiency. Furthermore, we will address the deregulation of the electricity market by undertaking power generation projects, providing maintenance and inspection services for power plants, and procuring fuel for power production. Our regional strategies place Asia and the Middle East at the center of operations, but also call for the diversification of power generation assets through such means as participation in renewable energy projects in Japan, Europe, and the United States. In the water business, we have continued to accumulate experience in such countries as Qatar, Chile, and the Philippines. We are taking advantage of this experience and the Marubeni Group's technologies to fuel an aggressive advance into markets in Southeast Asia, South America, and Europe. Marubeni will also expand operations in the Middle East, which is one of the world's primary regions for desalination projects. Marubeni aims to instill the know-how from this business throughout the Group. For example, we have developed sewage treatment operations in Chile for approximately 15 years, starting in the 1990s. Over this period, we have continued to raise the percentage of sewage treated in our operating area to nearly 100%. Conversely, the percentage of sewage treated in the area we service in the Philippines is only about 10%. Leveraging the knowledge gained in Chile, we hope to reach 100% by the late 2030s. In both the power and water businesses, close communication with partner countries is crucial. As Marubeni develops its business and solidifies its earnings bases going forward, we will continue to promote harmony and cooperation with the communities in which we operate, and will call upon the lessons of the past in doing so.