Japan to Increase Clean Energy Capacity 13% Through 2013
Japan’s Ministry of Economy announced today that a price incentive program should boost the country’s clean energy capacity by 13 percent through March 2013. As the country struggles with its energy infrastructure and maintain some semblance of energy independence in the post-Fukushima era, solar and wind power will comprise the bulk of this new boost in capacity. The initiative requires that utilities pay above-market rates to clean energy producers. The scheme will work similarly to how feed-in tariff programs work in Europe; utility customers will pay a surcharge of about 0.4 yen (half a U.S. cent) per kilowatt hour. The average cost to customers will be about 100 yen, or $1.24 a month. Currently Japan gains nine percent of its electricity through renewables. With concern over Japan’s nuclear program not receding anytime soon, this ramp up in clean energy investment should prove to the Japanese that the country’s energy security will only grow stronger. The Japanese have already proven that they can adjust during the harshest of times and have a long history of innovation; it is refreshing to see that the country’s institutions are showing that they can work effectively for its people. Photo of Ginza at night courtesy Leon Kaye.