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Sunday, 28 September 2014

Japan to revamp feed-in tariff system amid utility capacity shortage

It looks like the Japan utility companies are going to try to protect their nukes by simply refusing to allow solar and wind to connect to the grid.


The Japanese government has started a full-fledged revision of the feed-in tariff system under which utilities are obliged to purchase electricity generated from renewable sources such as wind and solar power at fixed rates, government sources said Friday.

The government is revising the system, introduced two years ago, after some utilities suspended acceptance of applications from renewable energy suppliers due to transmission network capacity limitations.

Under current legislation, the government is required to review the system at least every three years and overhaul it by March 2021.

The system was introduced to reduce reliance on nuclear power generation following the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant triggered by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

On Thursday, Kyushu Electric Power Co., which provides electricity on the country's southernmost main island, said it would suspend accepting applications from renewable energy suppliers to access its grid.

Tohoku Electric Power Co., which serves northeastern Japan, said the same day it would consider following suit.

Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Yuko Obuchi said at a news conference on Friday that the situation at each utility needs to be reviewed by a panel of experts on the promotion of renewable energy.

Utilities have set up transmission networks based on the estimated maximum electricity demand in their service regions.

Massive blackouts could occur if all output from renewable energy suppliers is transmitted to the utilities' grids, causing overcapacity.

It would cost several trillion yen to expand transmission network capacities across the country, according to some estimates.

Source: Kyodo

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