11 Novembre 2012
November 10, 2012
Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) customers will have a choice of paying for renewable energy or power from conventional sources, TEPCO President Naomi Hirose told the Mainichi Shimbun during a Nov. 9 interview.
Under the new pricing system, customers who want to support renewable energy will be able to opt to buy electricity from such sources starting in fiscal 2014, when the utility's Higashi Izu wind power station in Shizuoka Prefecture with a total output of some 18,000 kilowatts goes online.
It is the first time for a major power company in Japan to introduce such a pricing system aimed at promoting renewable energy. Because renewable energy generation costs up to four times more than thermal and other conventional energy, power bills will be heftier for its consumers. The utility also plans to use the proceeds for renewable energy investment.
"Even if the power rate is higher, I believe there will be customers who want to buy renewable energy," Hirose said, referring to rising calls for renewable power in the wake of the disaster at TEPCO's Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.
As renewable power output is limited, TEPCO will initially sell renewable energy only to corporations and organizations, not to households. If the number of clients who prefer renewable energy increases, the utility will apply the system to households as well by adding wind and megasolar plant capacity.
TEPCO is also considering purchasing electricity generated at megasolar plants developed by trade and other companies and selling it to regular households. The move is likely to lure new entrants to the renewable energy market.
According to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, the United States and Germany have similar systems giving customers the choice of purchasing renewable energy, leading to the expansion of renewable power sources in those countries.
In anticipation of criticism that it is unfair for those against nuclear power to be forced to pay heftier bills, TEPCO will likely be urged to reduce renewable energy costs.