Renewables Update

Smart alternatives for Japan

17 January 2014 Tomas Kåberger, Chair of Executive Board, Japan Renewable Energy Foundation

Japan depends on imported, expensive nuclear- and fossil fuels causing environmental degradation. Many pretend the only options are expensive fuels: gas, oil, uranium or coal. The only choice being how to ruin the life of future generations. Do it by a) radioactive pollution, or b) rapid climate change.

They are wrong. It is better for Japan to import knowledge and experiences, available for free, on how to make use of Japan’s vast renewable energy resources.

In Brazil , Australia and the United States, wind power is built with a total cost of only 4 yen per kWh. In Europe, wind power is built at 7 - 8 yen. After successful industrial learning during years with various feed-in tariffs, Mega-solar PV installations are now built in Spain with no subsidies, still out-competing fossil and nuclear plants lowering the cost of electricity to consumers, while solar roof-tops in the US are seen as a threat to existing fossil electricity generation.

Such developments are lowering electricity prices and improving the competitiveness of electricity consuming industries and making life easier for households. At the same time, this development stimulates the economy by increasing investments in power production that will make cities, regions and countries independent of imported fossil or nuclear fuels, from now and forever.

The government of Japan can make this happen in Japan, too. In order to succeed, the important decisions are not decisions to provide more support. The important decision is to give the opportunity for investors offering low cost renewable electricity to build their plants and compete with existing power producers.

Electric power companies in Japan are allowed to deny access to the market to wind and solar power plants that can out-compete the coal fired power plants they operate or the nuclear power plants the EPC believe will be allowed to re-open. As long as that is allowed, Japanese households and industries will pay more than necessary for electricity. As long as that is allowed, the risks of further nuclear accidents and climate change will face future Japanese generations. And, as long as that is allowed Japan’s economic resources will be wasted buying fuels from other countries, instead of being used to invest in Japan.

The most competent and efficient people within the electric power companies would also benefit from an open electricity market with competition. Only those who know they are not competent enough to compete have a reason to be against an immediate market reform.

The interests of the Japanese people and their children clearly stand against the short term interest of the least competent electric power companies.

Why are there so many politicians and bureaucrats siding with the least efficient power companies against the rest of Japan?

This website uses cookies. By continuing to browse this website, you are consenting to our use of these cookies.

I agree