Energy Policy Chief Makes Remarks on Moving Toward a Nuclear-free Japan

The nation’s new energy policy goal should be to no longer depend on nuclear power, national policy minister Motohisa Furukawa said Tuesday.

Furukawa told reporters this means Japan would have to embark on a broad quest to become totally nuclear-free. His comments could spark a backlash because he chairs the government panel that this month must unveil the nation’s future energy mix.

His remarks came as he announced the government will convene a meeting of experts Wednesday to study public opinions it collected during the course of hearings on the future use of atomic power. Furukawa said the government will reflect the results when drawing up a plan that will wean Japan off nuclear power.

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Japan to Combine Emission Credit Programs to Improve Efficiency

Japan will combine two emission credit programs as the government seeks to improve efficiency in the country’s efforts to curb production of greenhouse gases.

“It’s important for Japan to keep promoting measures to cut and absorb emissions,” a study group set up this year to review the country’s incentives said today in a report. “We need to keep the credit programs for fiscal 2013 and after.”

The industry, environment and agriculture ministries began a program in 2008 to spur low-carbon energy investment by small- and medium-size businesses by offering larger companies credits in return for providing their smaller peers with financial and technical help.

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Anti-nuclear Campaigners Launch Japans First Green Party

Anti-nuclear campaigners in Japan have launched the countrys first green party, more than a year after the triple meltdown at Fukushima Daiichi power plant created a groundswell of opposition to atomic energy.

Greens Japan, created by local politicians and activists, hopes to satisfy the legal requirements to become an officially recognised political party in time for the general election, which must be held by next summer but could come much earlier.

The party said it would offer voters a viable alternative to the two main parties, both of which have retained their support for nuclear power, particularly after the recent decision to restart two nuclear reactors in western Japan.

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Sky Solar Japan to Start Construction on Solar Power Stations

Since Japan formally implemented new Feed-in-Tariffs for the photovoltaic (PV) industry in July 2012, it has seen an overwhelming response and injection in the market. It is expected that with electricity prices of 42 Japanese Yen (approx. 3.36 Chinese Yuan) /kWh, internal rates of return of around 20% can be given to investors. This level of IRR has attracted and tempted many companies to invest in the PV industry either through development or through mergers and acquisition.

As a professional global PV developer, investor and IPP, Sky Solar finds itself in a strong position as the Japanese market strives forward due to years of hard work, commitment and preparation. Sky Solar is now in a position to seize this opportunity and has announced the successful development of several large solar power plants through its Japanese subsidiary, Sky Solar Japan.

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Japans Hitachi in Deal with Britain for High-speed Rail Project

Japans Hitachi will supply nearly 600 train carriages for Britains inter-city high-speed rail project in a deal worth £4.5 billion, the company and the British government said Wednesday.The giant conglomerate won the project along with British partner John Laing in 2009 but negotiations had been delayed after a change of government in Britain.The firms will supply 92 complete trains — comprised of 596 carriages — to replace the ageing fleet on Britains inter-city rail networks, with Hitachi holding a 70-percent stake in the consortium while John Laing has 30 percent.

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Japan’s Tsunami Towns Create Jobs by Going Green

Rikuzentakata, like many towns on Japan’s rugged north-east Pacific coast, was in decline even before last year’s tsunami killed 1 700 of its 24 000 inhabitants and destroyed most of its downtown buildings.

With two-thirds of the remaining residents homeless, mayor Futoshi Toba questioned whether the town could recover. Damage to infrastructure and the local economy, he said, would force people to move away to find jobs.

Sixteen months later, the town is trying to rebuild in a way that Toba says will reinvent the region and provide a model to overcome obstacles that have hobbled the Japanese economy for more than 20 years: the fastest-ageing population in the developed world, loss of manufacturing competitiveness to China and South Korea and reliance on imported fossil fuels.

Read the rest of the story: Japan’s tsunami towns go green to create jobs, bypass nuclear .

Thousands Protest Nuclear Power in Japan

Tens of thousands of people crowded into a park in central Tokyo on Monday to protest the use of nuclear power in Japan, highlighting the growing opposition to atomic energy in the country since the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant.

The peaceful demonstration took place on Japans national day in an area the size of a large sports field in Yoyogi Park, near the bustling shopping and nightlife district of Shibuya.

The event attracted so many people on a hot July public holiday that many spilled out into the surrounding streets, unable to enter the main area. It brought together a broad mix of Japanese people, from seasoned environmental activists to families who hadnt participated in a protest before.

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Japan’s Modi Corp Unveils Do-It-Yourself EV – Pius

Modi Corp, a Japan-based company that prototypes vehicles, announced that it has developed a built-it-yourself micro electric vehicle (EV).

The EV, “Pius,” is a single-seater and can be registered as a class-1 motorized bicycle in Japan. The company expects that the EV will be used as an educational tool for learning the basic functions and structure of EV. It is scheduled to be released in or after the spring of 2013.

Modi aims to sell the Pius to educational institutions such as universities, colleges of technology and car mechanics’ schools. Also, it offers a service of embedding components that its customers use for research and development in the EV so that they can use the vehicle for the evaluation of the components. The price of the EV has not been decided yet.

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Renewable Energy Feed-in Tariff Era Begins in Japan

The feed-in tariff system for renewable energies entered into force Sunday to help promote their use and cut Japan’s dependency on nuclear power.

The system requires utilities to purchase all electricity generated through solar, wind, water and geothermal power, among other eco-friendly sources, at fixed rates for up to 20 years. The costs will be passed onto consumers.

The government’s generous tariff rates have created considerable interest in the sector, with companies rushing to build massive solar and other power plants based on renewable energies.

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SoftBank-Kyocera Solar Plant Inaugurated in Kyoto

The largest mega-solar project in Kyoto Prefecture was inaugurated Sunday, the same day a feed-in tariff for renewable energies took effect and just hours before the Oi nuclear plant was set to resume operations.

The first of the project’s two solar power facilities, built in a joint venture between SoftBank group’s SB Energy Corp. and the Kyocera group, began operations later in the day. The second facility is scheduled to go online in September, and each is expected to generate 2.1 megawatts. When both are up and running, their combined capacity will be enough to power around 1,000 households, SB Energy said.

The ceremony took place in a downpour, prompting SoftBank Corp. President and CEO Masayoshi Son to note that the weather proves Japan needs a mix of renewable energy sources.

Read the rest of the story: SoftBank-Kyocera solar plant gets off to soggy start amid downpour in Kyoto.