Japan’s renewables bill clears first hurdle in parliament

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on reddit
Reddit
Share on email
Email

The lower house of Japan's parliament has passed a new green bill aimed at promoting investment in solar and other renewable energy sources and weaning the country off nuclear power.

Before March’s Fukushima nuclear plant disaster, Japan was planning to ramp up its nuclear capacity to cater for 50% of its energy demand by 2030. However, the fallout from Fukushima has undermined public confidence in the safety of atomic power and created uncertainty over the future of Japan’s energy policy.

And, in what is likely to be his final act in office, Prime Minister Naoto Kan is attempting to pass the green bill and stay true to his post-Fukushima pledge of overhauling Japan’s energy portfolio.

The bill's passage follows weeks of intense deliberation in Parliament. Should the upper house also approve the reforms, which requires utilities to buy any electricity from solar and other renewable sources at set rates for up to 20 years, the bill will be passed into law and come into force next July.

Solar is expected to be the main beneficiary and initial growth area as it can be installed quickly. On Tuesday, Trade Minister Banri Kaieda told a parliament committee that the bill was expected to help renewable capacity increase by 30GW over the next decade.

However, critics claim the bill’s impact on energy policy could be diluted because of a failure to resolve certain key details. Among these are the price paid by utilities, which will not be decided until a parliament-appointed panel meets next year.

Another concern comes in the form of Japan's recent history of short-lived governments. This instability brings with it the implied risk of a change in policy by a future administration, which will be an immediate concern for investors; the bill is due for a mandatory review after a new plan for Japan’s energy supply mix target in 2030 is finalised next year. A further mandatory review is due in 2014.

For solar, the ambitious growth targets bring with them another problem: panel supply. In 2010, Japan’s panel sales totalled 992MW, and this figure would need to grow sixfold to cater for a 10GW industry.

If domestic panel makers remain hesitant to add production lines, one possible scenario would see imports rise to fill the shortfall, according to Mitsubishi Research Institute's environment and energy research division general manager, Kazumichi Ito. Yet this would defeat the bill's objective of helping promote the development of the renewable energy industry in Japan.

“My concern is that the revised bill, which aims to promote the [renewable energy] market for an initial three-year period, now appears to have nothing to do with its original purpose of fostering the renewable energy industry in a long run,” Ito said.

28 September 2021
Solar Solutions International is the largest trade show for solar energy in Northwest Europe. Now the solar market has grown up, it's time for the next step. Solar Solutions International displays more than 500 innovations and over 100 practical seminars concerning the latest in energy storage, smart products, and an ever evolving array of solar panels. As an exclusively B2B trade show, Solar Solutions International offers both exhibitors and visitors the chance to network at the highest level. Duurzaam Verwarmd, the largest trade show for sustainable HVAC technology in the Benelux, is held simultaneously. This way your one visit gets you up to date with all of the developments in both sustainable energy and heating.
6 October 2021
Intersolar Europe is the world’s leading exhibition for the solar industry. It takes place as part of The smarter E Europe – the continent’s largest platform for the energy industry. Under the motto “Connecting solar business,” manufacturers, suppliers, distributors, service providers and project planners and developers from around the world meet in Munich every year to discuss the latest developments and trends, explore innovations firsthand and meet potential new customers.
6 October 2021
The future is bright for a new era of US solar and storage, and the 8th annual Solar & Storage Finance Summit will provide opportunities to discuss solutions to the industry’s challenges and provide a networking platform designed to bring together the top minds in the industry to do business. With a mix of high-level, informative presentations and panels, a stellar cast of speakers and audience members with deal-making capacity, the 2021 edition of the event will be a sell-out success.
18 October 2021
Intersolar South America, South America’s largest exhibition and conference for the solar industry, takes place at the Expo Center Norte in São Paulo, Brazil on October 18–20, 2021, and has a focus on the areas of photovoltaics, PV production and solar thermal technologies. At the accompanying Intersolar South America Conference, renowned experts shed light on hot topics in the solar industry.
19 October 2021
This year’s EV World Congress will hold a special role, not only as the first live EverythingEV event in over a year – a chance to renew your connections and re-engage with the EV sector face to face – but also as a chance to share insight and inspiration as world starts to look towards move on post COVID towards hitting ambitious decarbonisation goals in 2030 and beyond. As ever, we will be bringing world leading organisations, cities, and technology providers to the UK to inspire EV innovators, and delve into the challenges facing the sector as the UK looks to revolutionise road transport.
20 October 2021
Utility-scale solar is evolving, shaped by higher power modules and demand for increasingly lower levelised cost of electricity (LCOE). Those trends are also changing project requirements elsewhere, with inverters capable of delivering high power density and power capacity in strong demand. In this webinar, FIMER will detail how its innovative high-power, multi-MPPT string inverter and modular conversion solution can both meet those demands and transform the utility-scale solar sector for the better.

Read Next

September 24, 2021
Independent power producer Catalyze has acquired commercial and industrial (C&I) solar developer Sol Alliance, expanding its presence in the northeast of the US and taking on an 80MW project development pipeline in the process.
September 24, 2021
California Governor Gavin Newsom has signed a US$15 billion package to fund programmes to tackle drought and climate change in the state
PV Tech Premium
September 24, 2021
Concerns have been raised that new measures introduced by Spain’s government to limit windfall profits of renewable energy plants could dent investor confidence and impact the stability of the country’s solar sector.
September 24, 2021
DNV-owned solar monitoring firm GreenPowerMonitor is to integrate Alteso’s solar analytics tech platform into its offering after striking a deal to acquire it.
September 23, 2021
A project that bids to combine up to 20GW of solar PV with the world’s largest energy storage battery and a 4,200km-long subsea power cable has moved a step forward after Indonesian authorities greenlit its proposed transmission cable route.
September 23, 2021
US national residential and C&I solar plant performance assessment company Omnidian has completed a US$33 million Series B raise.

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Solar Media Events
October 6, 2021
Solar Media Events
October 19, 2021
BRISTOL, UK
Solar Media Events
December 1, 2021