Sunday, August 8, 2010

No. 58: Japanese government’s concrete plan for the purchase of renewable energy (August 9, 2010)

The Japanese government laid down a concrete plan that lets electric power companies purchase renewable energy. Scheduled to be enacted in fiscal 2012, it covers every kinds of renewable energy including sunlight, wind, and geothermal heat, though it currently focuses only on sunlight. It also covers power generated by electric power companies, though only power generated by households is currently subject to purchase. The purchase price of power generated by means other than sunlight is scheduled at 15-20 yen per kilowatt that is a little higher than in EC countries, because Japan’s higher cost for infrastructure improvement leads to higher generation cost.

The purchase price of power generated by sunlight is set at 48 yen per kilowatt in the existing law and will remain higher than other types of power in the new system, but it will be decreased in incremental steps with a view to expecting the industry to reduce photovoltaic generation cost. The key to a lower purchase price of power generated by sunlight is the spread of generation equipment that currently costs 500,000-600,000 yen per kilowatt generation capacity. Because electric power companies need to purchase relatively expensive power, users pay the extra price to be included in the electric power charges. The extra price that the standard household needs to pay is estimated at 150-200 yen per month.

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