Japan to Implement Feed-In Tariff
While the federal and state governments in the U.S. cobble together a hodge-podge of various incentives to support renewable energy (that often favor one source or fuel over another), countries like Japan, China and Germany are relying on national feed-in tariffs to reduce fossil fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions.
Japan is the latest country to pass a feed-in tariff that, when the details are ironed out, will cover solar, wind, biomass, geothermal and hydroelectric power. The law is set to go into effect in July 2012, and aims to create 30,000 megawatts of new renewable energy development over the next 10 years, which is five times the amount the county is currently producing. The law will require utilities to purchase certain amounts of renewable electricity at above market rates, which haven’t yet been determined, for up to 20 years.
“The move has global implications, as the world’s third-largest economy follows that of the world’s second-largest economy, China, and the world’s fourth-largest economy, Germany, in implementing feed-in tariffs in order to rapidly develop renewable energy,” said Paul Gipe, a feed-in tariff expert with Wind-Works.
Don’t know if that was a deliberate slam on the U.S., but it would seem that we are behind the curve when it comes to seriously developing renewable energy.
This feed-in tariff is expected to especially benefit wind and solar, but as I mentioned in an earlier blog, Japan is also looking to build biomass power facilities that would be fueled by debris from the earthquake and tsunami that hit the country in March.
The new feed-in tariff is obviously a reaction to the crisis that arose when the Fukushima nuclear plant was damaged by the disaster. The government has been under a lot of pressure from their constituents to move away from nuclear power and I guess the people’s message has been heard loud and clear.