Japan to use renewable energy

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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A new law which seeks to utilise reusable energy and minimise cost impact on consumers is under development in Japan. The new law, which would be effective from July 1 next year, would seek to reduce Japan's dependency on nuclear power.

The new legislation would urge power utilities to cut costs by purchasing renewable energy from outside companies and private businesses. Japan's decision has been referred to as opening the door on renewable energy, which currently only contributes to six percent of Japan's energy sources.

Politicians have amended the bill, allowing the revised bill to pass through parliament later this month. Prime Minister Naoto Kan who is pushing for the bill to be passed in return for his resignation, has stated that the 'feed-in-tariff on renewable energy will be set at a fixed price so that utilities are limited to purchasing electricity from renewable power generators. Kan hopes that this will encourage more business and private corporate partners to enter into the renewable energy market.

"As a medium-term revolutionary energy and environmental strategy, we have decided to start a thorough review of nuclear power policy and draw a roadmap for a reduction of the dependence on nuclear power" Mr Kan said.

Large companies are concerned about the new legislation as it will continue to affect profit margins which are low due to power shortages and high priced exports. The bill was changed to reduce the surcharge for large power companies after complaints from the Japanese steel industry. If the scheme is launched then consumers will face an increase on electricity bills as utilities can pass their costs onto end-users. Despite the governments promise to cap the surcharge for the next ten years, there is no reference to it in the revised bill.

Lawmakers hope that by adding a provision requiring utilities to streamline their operations, the impact on consumers will be minimized.

A third party group will be set up within the under the Agency for National Resources and Energy to ensure that the setting of fixed prices are fair and just.


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