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.

Read the rest of the story: Energy policy chief inclined toward nuclear-free Japan.

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.

Japan Set To Introduce Landmark Renewable Energy Law

Japan’s parliament is set to approve a landmark bill on renewable energy championed by Prime Minister Naoto Kan as a way to reduce the nation’s dependence on nuclear power following the worst nuclear plant accident in the country’s history, and which would break the monopoly of the 10 major utilities.

The final passage of the bill, which aims to bolster investment in renewable energy, is expected by the end of the month. Ironically, it paves the way for the highly unpopular Kan to step down.

Its main feature is a requirement that utilities purchase power from outside providers such as private companies or cooperatives under certain circumstances. This is seen as opening the door for much greater use of renewable energy, an area where Japan lags, accounting for just 9% of total supply.

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Japan Has ‘Slim’ Chance of Splitting Utilities as Blackouts Loom

Prime Minister Naoto Kan’s proposal to split electricity monopolies into generation and distribution companies as part of his plan to wean Japan from nuclear energy may be opposed by utilities as the nation faces power shortages.Kan’s government last week announced its plan to diversify away from nuclear power after a public backlash following the Fukushima disaster, and shift to alternate sources gradually to avoid shortages and higher prices. The strategy will consider separating generation and distribution and encourage “various operators” to enter the electricity market, Kan said July 29.“Breaking up the electricity grid is a great idea in theory, but the power companies are against it and the chances of it actually happening are slim,” said Kenichi Hirano, general manager and strategist at Tachibana Securities Co. in Tokyo. “The debate will end at the discussion stage instead of translating into policy unless the government is willing to take on the utilities. The reaction in the market will be limited.”

Read the rest of the story: Japan Has ‘Slim’ Chance of Splitting Utilities as Blackouts Loom.

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.