A renewable energy boom in Japan


In the wake of the tragic catastrophe and the nuclear incident that shook Japan in 2011, we have seen that the local government is willing to push renewable energy sources forward. Among them, solar energy and wind power.

This has led to the installation of 1,12 GW of solar PV capacity in only nine months (source). During this period over five gigawatts of clean energy capacity have been approved. This proves that the feed-in tariffs are a success.

Let’s just hope it won’t be the kind of success that will lead the government to step back (as it happened most unfortunately in France).

This could be the case as banks are forecasting a $19 billion (14.5 billion euros) market for solar in the next three years. The incentives are three times as high as in Germany. Let’s hope overheating won’t occur. As Renewable Energy World notes :

Japanese industry and government officials say they understand the need to rein in demand to avoid the boom-and-bust cycles seen in Europe.

While feed-in tariffs in Germany helped the country become the world’s largest solar market, surcharges that consumers pay for renewable energy are surging to a record and increasing the cost of power. A year ago, Spain suspended new subsidies for renewable energy to keep a lid on electricity costs.

“I am concerned that the combination of generous feed-in tariff and available debt will lead to a boom-bust cycle, with annual build in 2013 or 2014 vastly exceeding government expectations,” said Jenny Chase, an industry analyst with BNEF. “This would lead to the removal or capping of incentives, as has happened in Spain, the Czech Republic and Bulgaria.”

There is more on renewables in Japan as to New Scientist, the Fukushima province is planning to have the world’s largest offshore wind farm by 2020. With one gigawatt of capacity, the 143 turbines will help the province become 100 percent renewables by 2040.

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