Japan investing in safer solar energy
Change is on the horizon for the world’s third-biggest economy as Japan looks to minimise its reliance on nuclear energy by favouring cleaner and safer green energy.
The Fukushima nuclear disaster forced Japan to go back to the drawing board to write an altogether different kind of power policy and as a result the country is starting to shift its allegiance towards renewable energies such as solar, wind and geothermal power.
According to industry analysts the country has massive potential to use the natural resources of the sun and wind to generate renewable energy and today the Japanese Government has approved renewable energy incentives which could potentially pave the way for billions of dollars worth of investment, says Reuters.
It’s estimated that the introduction of subsidies in the shape of feed-in tariffs from 1 July could see revenue from the generation of energy by renewable technologies reach excesses of $30 billion by 2016. The Government has announced plans to pay 42 yen (34 British pence) for every kilowatt hour of electricity generated by solar PV panels.
Aside from the country’s plans to be less reliant on nuclear energy, Japan, like the rest of the world, is not alone in wanting to wean itself off expensive fossil fuels like oil and natural gas. Prior to Fukushima almost 30% of Japan’s electricity demand was met by nuclear power, with oil, gas and coal accounting for 60%. Currently expensive fossil fuels account for almost 90%, the rise a result of the closure of all of Japan’s nuclear reactors following safety concerns.
There’s no doubt that Japan has a long way to go in terms of turning to renewable energy generation as a way of meeting its energy demands. Not factoring large scale hydro-electricity dams, which are used to supply the country’s electricity, just 1% of Japan’s power is supplied by renewable energy. But by introducing incentives to pay higher rates for renewable energy it’s an encouraging start.