Japan Adds 4 Nuclear Reactors Worth Of Renewable Energy

After extremely long delays, Japan’s METI has finally announced that the nation has brought about 4 nuclear reactors* worth of renewable energy online since the introduction of its highly successful Feed-in Tariff (FIT) program last year.

Furthermore, Japan has approved more than 26 nuclear reactors* worth of renewable energy facilities during the same period. Approved facilities have not yet come online but have been approved for construction by the government.

The report from METI was published last night in Japan and includes information through May. METI is still running late on publishing data for June and July.

Japan’s FIT program began in July of 2012 and is similar to programs such as Germany’s which have been wildly successful in promoting the creation of renewable energy generation.

Between April 2012 and May 2013, Japan has put 3.359 Gigawatts of renewable energy generation facilities online according to the reports.  The report also reveals that in the 10 month period since the start of the FIT program in July of 2012, new renewable energy facilities capable of generating 22.372 Gigawatts of power have been approved by the government.

At the rapid pace that Japan is installing renewable energy, it is possible for Japan to completely replace its destroyed or shutdown nuclear power facilities within just a few short years.

Japan has a vast and untapped amount of renewable energy resources including solar, wind, small and medium hydro, geothermal, biomass, wave and others. The island nation also has huge potential gains possible via energy efficiency due to its amazing lack of any building energy standards.

* The average existing nuclear reactor output worldwide is approximately 850 Megawatts or .85 Gigawatts per reactor according to the World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2013.

P.S. Thanks to the excellent Lenz Blog for posting about the release of the METI report. Also thanks to this tweet from the very knowledgable Hironao Matsubara.

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5 thoughts on “Japan Adds 4 Nuclear Reactors Worth Of Renewable Energy

  1. Yes, the amount of approved renewable energy projects are large.

    However, we have analyzed METI’s data, and shown the graphic analysis of FIT approvals here in our blog: http://www.eurotechnology.com/2013/08/24/are-feed-in-tariff-approvals-drying-up/

    Our analysis shows, that actually almost no new projects were approved during February-May 2013, i.e. the approval of new projects had almost dried up.

    I am wondering what the reason for this apparent almost-stop of approval is. Now more land can be found for solar in Japan? or too large back-log of applications at METI? or stricter approval standards?

    • It will be interesting to see how the process changes over time. Currently, the backup of approved facilities is enough to cover two to three years worth of installations at the current pace predicted by Bloomberg and others (6 to 9GW this year predicted).

      According to everyone I’ve talked to in the industry any solar project under 50kW is approved immediately. Anything larger may take a few months. There does not seem to be any onerous delays in the approval process as far as I can see.

      It would seem that most of the large players rushed to get projects approved during the first year at 42 yen per kWh, prior to this year’s reduced (but still generous) FIT rate. This seems to be the case as the April – May projects that came online are doing so at almost four times the rate as last year!

      To be sure, time will tell.

  2. Pingback: Japan Renewables Rapidly Accelerating | KMB48

    • Gerhard, thanks! I think the big story is that actual installations this fiscal year have actually quadrupled their pace. It will be interesting to see if Bloomberg’s and others’ predictions for 6 to 9 GW of renewables this year are accurate. Personally, I think things may even go higher.

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