Japan’s struggle over its energy future was on display over the last two days as the government okayed restarting operations at two nuclear power plants while also approving an ambitious renewable energy feed-in tariff in which utilities will pay a premium for electricity generated by solar, wind, and geothermal power.
After shutting down the country’s 50 nuclear power plants following the Fukushima nuclear power meltdown, the government of Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda on Saturday gave the green light to bring two nuclear reactors in western Japan back online.
Despite public unease and a large street protest in Tokyo, the government said that post-Fukushima reforms had rendered the plants safe. Meanwhile, the government approved generous green energy feed-in tariffs as part of a drive to significantly expand renewable power generation.
Under the feed-in tariffs, utilities will pay 42 yen (53 U.S. cents) per kilowatt hour for solar-generated electricity and 23 yen per kilowatt hour for wind-generated electricity. The subsidies, designed to encourage individuals and businesses to install solar panels and wind turbines, have been essential in developing a renewable energy sector in countries such as Germany.
Article appearing courtesy Yale Environment 360.