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Japan to tackle red tape to boost renewable energy

11 Comments
By Yuka Obayashi

Japan plans to cut approval times for wind projects, open up abandoned farmland, boost grid capacity and other measures to slash red tape that has for decades impeded efforts to bring more renewable energy into the power mix.

Actions to reduce bureaucracy are set to accelerate after Japan on Thursday nearly doubled its 2030 target for cutting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions as world leaders met for a climate summit hosted by U.S. President Joe Biden.

"The entire government will work together to make renewable energy a mainstream power source," Japan's Environment Minister Shinjiro Koizumi said on Friday.

Japan is the world's fifth-biggest emitter of greenhouse gases. To meet its new target of cutting emissions by 46% by 2030 on fiscal 2013 levels, against the previous goal of 26%, the ministry will seek to expand use of rooftop solar power, faster development of geothermal power in national parks and quicker environmental assessment for wind power projects, Koizumi said.

"There are still many places where solar power panels can be installed, like on roofs of homes, companies and factories, and reservoirs, dams and abandoned farmland," he said.

A series of deregulation has been decided already as the country has pledged to become carbon neutral by 2050.

The measures include easing rules for environmental assessment for wind power projects of up to 50 megawatts and for installing solar panels on uncultivated farmland.

The industry ministry is also considering doubling Japan's inter-regional power grid capacity to help expand offshore wind farms as it plans to install as much as 45 gigawatts of offshore wind power by 2040.

Greenhouse gas emissions by Japan fell to a record low in the fiscal 2019 year to levels 14% lower than 2013 levels, with renewable energy accounting for 18% of electric power generation.

The big question is whether the new goal is viable.

"It's not easy to achieve the ambitious target that is 70% higher than the previous goal," industry minister Hiroshi Kajiyama said, adding the country needs "a maximum expansion of renewable energy."

The Renewable Energy Institute, however, sees the new goal as achievable if Japan boosts renewable energy to account for 45% of the power mix, Mika Ohbayashi, a director at the think tank said.

"Japan can meet an even higher goal if the government takes all possible measures to promote investments for renewable energy and energy savings," she said.

"It would be also important to introduce a carbon pricing mechanism to hasten the exit of coal-fired power plants and to bolster competition among power generators to make their portfolio greener," she said.

If successful, it would lower the resource-poor country's dependency on fossil fuels.

"Expanding use of renewable energy will reduce the cost of fossil fuels paid to other countries and thus contribute to energy security," Koizumi said.

© Thomson Reuters 2021.

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

11 Comments
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oops.... more Chiba countryside rubberized, woodland cleared, and hilltops sliced off, to incorporate the oh-so-attractive solar farmlets....

1 ( +4 / -3 )

""The measures include easing rules for environmental assessment for wind power projects of up to 50 megawatts and for installing solar panels on uncultivated farmland.""

The problem with this is that in several mountains where I live Forest TREES were SAVEGLY CUT by Money Thirsty Solar Panel Energy INVESTORS who only care about making money , with little or NO regard to the forests. Deforestation is what it's called and it defeats the whole idea of Renewable- Energy.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Its same issue that plagues Fukushima and TEPCO. Would need stronger governance and clean up the corruption before making any real change. When monkeys fly out of my butt.....

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Japan is lagging behind other major countries with renewable energies. Target of 30% of total power by 2030 won’t happen. Will be nearer 15%.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

One evil for another

3 ( +4 / -1 )

People need to look into more about renewables ...it may surprise how bad they can be in the long run

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Extremely good, even if also very late. Hopefully other areas where irrational and unnecessary red tape will also follow, like drugs and vaccine approvals.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

jiji XxToday 06:36 am JST

oops.... more Chiba countryside rubberized, woodland cleared, and hilltops sliced off, to incorporate the oh-so-attractive solar farmlets....

Right. So many woodlands and hills cleared for solar.

Priority should be to put the solar panels on houses, making it mandatory, and use all non-used farmlands, etc.

This guy is right

"There are still many places where solar power panels can be installed, like on roofs of homes, companies and factories, and reservoirs, dams and abandoned farmland," he said.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

While I support renewable energy having them everywhere across the countryside are ugly especially being a landscape painter. I would propose that they should be produced in green colors to blend with the landscape. More investments in other systems too like geothermal, tidal.

There is a limit to what grids can support and in some areas those limits have been reached. Some modifications are needed to increase the use of PV.

Japan’s cumulative installed PV capacity could reach 150 GW by 2030, from roughly 55.5 GW by the end of 2018, according to a new report by Tokyo based research firm RTS Corp. Eventually, supply about 150 TWh of electricity per year and account for 15% of total national demand.

Current demand 1,000 TWh.

https://www.pv-magazine.com/2019/03/18/japan-could-install-150-gw-by-2030-report/

If the countryside were covered by PV panels how will affect the wildlife?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Hahaha... right! And how many committees, boards, meetings, and official ceremonies are the going to create in order to form the appropriate offices to make the documents to fax to the necessary government houses in order to assign resigned lawmakers to give permission to allow communities to formally submit requests to make the groups that will allow there to be less red tape... then hold a press conference to announce there will be a press conference on a thought about a decision?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

In Tokushima, solar panels can only be installed on residential land. So some rice fields have already been converted into residential land for that purpose. I guess aging farmers who arent able to find someone to take over, have no other choice but to do that (if they can afford it).

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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