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Japan announces 'basic concept' on solar plants in national parks

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By Kenji Kaneko, Nikkei BP CleanTech Institute

The Ministry of the Environment has announced its basic concept of the installation of large-scale solar power generation facilities in national and semi-national parks.

The ministry will revise the enforcement regulations for the National Park Act and draw up guidelines based on the basic concept in the aim of clarifying its attitude on reviews for the installation of mega (large-scale) solar power plants.

The ministry established a committee to considering how to install solar power generation facilities in national and semi-national parks in September 2014. Since then, it has had four meetings to discuss related issues. The latest basic concept is a summary of those discussions.

The ministry proposed to recognize national and semi-national parks as important natural areas and, specifically, to exclude natural grassland and wood land from candidate sites for the preservation of scenery and biodiversity.

Thus far, the number of solar plants set up at national parks (solar plants that have been permitted to be built) is eight in the second-class special areas, eight in the third-class special areas and 10 in normal areas. Among them, six solar plants have an output higher than 1MW.

The number of solar plants set up at semi-national and prefectural nature parks is 13 in the second-class special areas, 29 in the third-class special areas and 40 in normal areas. Among them, 23 solar plants have an output higher than 1MW (as of the end of February 2014).

The number of solar projects for which consultations for installation have been made in advance is more than 100 in national parks and more than 50 in semi-national and prefectural natural parks (as of the end of February 2014).

"For the installation of facilities with a large power generation capacity, it is necessary to organize the concept of reviews for the National Park Act in the aim of considering form-related characteristics such as the need for vast areas, the impact on scenery, animals and plants and seeking harmony with natural environment," according to the ministry. The basic concept announced this time is the base for it.

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3 Comments
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Why can't they do it for geothermal plants? It's a much more efficient energy source.

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I would have thought the "basic concept" of a national park should be an area free of development. Who will want to visit an area of solar panels? Solar panels should be placed on houses and factories, not farmland and parks.

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Sunahine is free. Takigi is not. Maybe Sanyo and other Solar Enery panel makers decided to promote their new solar energy panels in Japan?

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