Construction on a large scale 400MW solar power park on a remote island off Sasebo city in southern Japan is set to begin sometime in May, after the project was given a planning consent yesterday. This is part of Japan’s move to lessen dependence on nuclear power and expensive gas imports and instead focus on renewable energies.
The $1 billion solar farm will be built by a consortium that includes Photovolt Development Partners. Early reports indicate that the power harnessed by the farm will be bought by Kyushu Electric Power which provides power to a large part of the country. An undersea transmission line will be used to bring the power to the mainland.
A report released by IMS Research earlier this year says that Japan will surpass Germany and the United States this year and become the 2nd largest solar power market in the world, with a 120% increase in solar projects. This is in large part due to the government’s feed-in tariff (FIT) for any solar power-related endeavors. Even though just last week the government approved a 10% cut to the FIT, from $.44 to just $.40 per kilowatt, it is still a good deal higher than the rates in other countries.
Wind energy is also a huge potential source for the country, with the government launching at the start of fiscal year 2013 a decade-long project to triple Japan’s supply capacity for wind-power generated electricity. Public and private sectors are expected to spend around $3.35 billion in developing wind power in the Hokkaido and Tohoku regions.
With the consequences of the nuclear meltdown of 2011 still fresh in people’s minds, there are numerous calls for a breakaway from Japan’s strong dependence on nuclear energy. While Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his government still seem determined to reopen some of the plants that were shut down due to safety regulation concerns (only two are currently in operations), they are still pursuing different avenues in developing renewable energy sources for the energy-hungry society of Japan.
[ via Business Green ]