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.

Read the rest of the story: Sky Solar Japan to Begin Construction on PV Power Stations.

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.

Read the rest of the story: Feed-in tariff era gets under way.

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.

SoftBank founder outlines plan to shift Japan to renewable energy

Japans richest entrepreneur outlined a plan on Monday to rebuild the countrys energy infrastructure in the wake of its nuclear disaster, shifting the majority of supply to natural, renewable resources by 2030.

Masayoshi Son, founder and CEO of SoftBank, was speaking at the launch of his Japan Renewable Energy Foundation. He said Japan could shift to renewable energy sources for 60% of its electricity requirements over the next two decades, calling for a 2 trillion yen £16.34 billion "super grid" across the country, and underwater off the coast, that would zip electricity around cheaply and efficiently to meet demand.

"Japan is a country that is riddled by earthquakes," Son said at a conference hall in central Tokyo. "We must minimise our use of nuclear power over the next 20 years."

Read the rest of the story: SoftBank founder backs Japans shift to renewable energy.

Japan: An Energy Revolution

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development OECD released an updated version of its Monthly Electricity Survey, which tracks trends in electricity production for countries and regions around the world.  The data for Japan are stunning.According to the OECD, Japan produced more electricity in May 2011 than it did in May 2010, but did so with 34% LESS nuclear energy and 1% hydro.  Japan produced 295% more electricity from renewable-energy resources – including geothermal, solar and wind power – in May 2011 than it produced with renewable energy in May 2010.  Wow.

Read the rest of the story: Profile of An Energy Revolution: Japan.

Will Disaster in Japan Mean They Emerge the World’s Green Energy Leader?

Can Japan afford to go nuclear-power-free? The country’s atomic power industry and many big business clients say "No", arguing the step would boost electricity bills and pollution and hasten the hollowing out of Japanese manufacturing.

But the Fukushima nuclear disaster is galvanising a coalition of safety-conscious voters and future-minded companies who increasingly believe that Japan cannot afford to stick with the status quo if it wants to be globally competitive.

"Japan has a span of about a year to assert itself as a clear leader in clean energy, storage batteries, solar cells. They can compete, but they are no longer the only guys in the global game," said Jesper Koll, director of equities research at JP Morgan in Tokyo.

"This is where government policy helps — it can create a domestic market that is captive and rich and creates jobs and puts Japan on the map as a global leader."

Read the rest of the story: Sticking with nuclear could be costlier Japan option.

Japan Government Considering Return of Eco-point program

The government is considering reviving the Eco-point incentive program for environment-friendly home appliances this winter to encourage power-saving efforts, national policy minister Koichiro Genba said Friday.

The program was introduced in May 2009 as part of an economic stimulus package and ended last March.

Read the rest of the story: Eco-point program may return.

London to Tokyo in 2 hours: hypersonic plane unveiled

It will take only two hours to fly from London to Tokyo, be virtually pollution free, and promises to be no louder than today’s modern planes.

There’s only one catch for prospective commuters – it will be another 40 years before commercial flights take place.

Plans were yesterday unveiled for the first hypersonic passenger jet, which would use three sets of engines to reach 3,125mph, more than four times the speed of sound, known as Mach 4.

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Hailed as the heir to Concorde, the aircraft would be propelled by a mixture of hydrogen and oxygen, meaning its only emissions would be water.

The project, developed by Airbus’s parent company EADS, was unveiled before the official opening of the Paris Air Show today.

Carrying up to 100 passengers, a set of conventional jet engines would help launch the aircraft from a normal airport runway, meaning the aircraft would not produce the noisy ‘sonic boom’ that Concorde did.

Read the rest of the story: London to Tokyo in 2 hours.

Sticky Subject – Japan’s Rice Protection

Twenty-five years ago, Japan was a very competitive manufacturing country, and much of its economic policy since then has been in response to trade friction with the United States, which demanded greater access to Japanese markets for American agricultural products in order to offset Japan’s trade surplus. However, Japan’s farm sector was considered the prime constituency of the Liberal Democratic Party, which had controlled the government since 1955, so any concession to foreign agricultural interests was seen as a betrayal of that base. It was a political problem, not an economic one.

The main sticking point was rice. The LDP caved on oranges and beef, but rice, a "sacred" commodity, was off limits. Every so often the government would limit car exports in order to appease the growling functionaries in Washington, but it didn’t matter. Japanese people weren’t buying enough American products, and finally, in 1993, when the LDP was briefly out of power, the government joined the Uruguay Round of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, and has since allowed 770,000 tons of foreign rice to enter Japan every year, most of which is used as animal feed, re-exported as food aid, or socked away in warehouses. As a "countermeasure" the government pledged ¥6 trillion for rice-related matters, half of which would be spent on public works to provide jobs in farming areas.

Read the rest of the story: The sticky subject of Japan’s rice protection.

Pasona Employs Goats for New Urban Farm

Staffing agency Pasona Group Inc. has recruited two new “employees” this week — two female goats.  They’re the latest addition to what Pasona calls its “urban farm,” in which over 200 types of fruits and vegetables grow in and around its central Tokyo headquarters building.

The goats were given a formal welcome by Pasona’s founder and group chief executive, Yasuyuki Nambu, and wear their employee ID cards on their collars. A company contest is under way to name them. The company said the goats will “provide comfort” to their fellow employees — as well as manure, to be used as fertilizer for some of the crops.

Read the rest of the story: Pasona’s New Urban Farm Recruits: Goats.