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Boosting wind, geothermal, biomass and tidal energy sixfold

August 31, 2012

Four sources face sixfold boost
Renewable energy plan sees no nukes



Kyodo, Jiji

Environment Minister Goshi Hosono released a new strategy Friday to boost power generation capacity by more than sixfold for four renewable energy categories by 2030 to make it possible to eliminate all nuclear power plants.


Announcing the promotion strategy after the day's Cabinet meeting, Hosono said his ministry plans to increase the combined annual capacity of electricity generation using offshore wind, geothermal, biomass and tidal power sources to as much as 19.41 million kw by 2030, compared with 2.96 million kw in fiscal 2010.

Specific targets were set at 8.03 million kw for offshore wind power, 3.88 million kw for geothermal power, 6 million kw for biomass power, and 1.5 million kw for tidal power.

In fiscal 2010, offshore wind power generation totaled 30,000 kw, geothermal power 530,000 kw, biomass power 2.4 million kw and tidal power zero.

While the government is studying options to cut nuclear energy's share of total power generation to zero, 15 percent, or 20 to 25 percent by 2030 in light of the Fukushima nuclear crisis, the strategy is designed to allow for the zero percent option.

Hosono said floating ocean wind power generators should be developed by 2020 to achieve the target of generating the same output as eight nuclear reactors.

Nuclear panel limbo


The Diet may not vote on appointments to the new nuclear regulatory commission before the legislative session ends Sept. 8.

A vote is unlikely in the current session, a senior Diet affairs official in the ruling Democratic Party of Japan confirmed Thursday.

This is because some DPJ members, including ex-Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, oppose appointing Shunichi Tanaka, former acting chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, as head of the regulatory body, describing him as pronuclear.

There is concern within the DPJ that forcing the votes could cause more lawmakers to quit the party.

Another DPJ executive said holding the votes would be difficult as the opposition parties have boycotted deliberations since the opposition-controlled Upper House passed a censure motion against Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda on Wednesday.

The government has until Sept. 26 to set up the nuclear regulatory body. If the Diet doesn't act, Noda has the power to appoint the commission's members as a stopgap measure.



New strategy on renewable energy announced



Japan's Environment Ministry has unveiled a new energy strategy aimed at boosting power generation from renewable resources by a factor of 6 by 2030.

Environment Minister Goshi Hosono announced the strategy to promote renewable energy resources on Friday as the government continues to review national energy policy after the Fukushima nuclear accident.

It aims to generate about 8 million kilowatts of electricity from offshore wind power and 6 million kilowatts from biomass by 2030. Geothermal power will be used to generate 3.9 million kilowatts and ocean energy, 1.5 million kilowatts.

The combined power output from the 4 sources is projected at 19.4 million kilowatts. That's about 6 times the level of fiscal 2010.
The government will encourage the use of floating equipment for offshore power generation. This method is said to be especially suitable for Japan. The strategy also seeks to improve the efficiency of geothermal power plants.

Hosono says the 4 types of power generation have considerable potential, and the government will carefully nurture the industry.

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