The Economist: “Japan ought to be heaven for renewable energy”

Gerhard Fasol for The Economist on Japan's energy policy

A few days ago Japan’s industry ministry METI announced the most recent data on renewable energy sources in Japan admitted under the feed-in-tariff (FIT) regulations introduced on July 1, 2012. We have updated our report on “Renewable energy in Japan” to take account of these most recent data – read a short summary in this newsletter below.

Read an article on Japan’s electricity sector in The Economist here, where we helped a little.

Japan added 23% to renewable electricity generation since introduction of FIT
Japan added 23% to renewable electricity generation since introduction of FIT

Feed-In-Tariffs for renewables reverse Japan’s trend of decreasing contributions from renewable energy sources

As our previous newsletter of March 26, 2013 has shown (and as shown in more detail in our renewable energy report), the contribution of renewable energy sources to Japan’s energy mix has dropped from around 25% in the 1970s to around 10% recently.

Since the introduction of the feed-in-tariffs of July 2012, the installed capacity for renewable electricity generation in Japan has increased by about 23% if hydropower is included, and by about 70% if hydropower is excluded.

Since solar plants are quickest to install, and the permission process is by far the easiest, about 91% of renewable electricity installations permitted under the FIT program by METI are for solar electricity, while only 9% are for other sources such as wind or bio-mass.

Wind, hydro and geo-thermal installations require a lengthy planning, permission, environmental impact process, and far longer construction phase, so that the impact of the FIT program will be seen only in a few years time.

126% were added to Japan's solar electrical generation capacity since July 2012
126% were added to Japan’s solar electrical generation capacity since July 2012

Solar electricity generation capacity more than doubled due to FIT

Solar electricity generation capacity increased by 126% since July 2012 due to the introduction of new feed-in-tariffs and other regulations promoting solar energy. Note that previous to July 2012, about 83% of Japan’s solar electricity generation capacity was residential, while only 17% were industrial solar installations.

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