Japan is planning to switch from nuclear power to renewable energy in the near future. This news probably doesn’t come as a surprise, given the country’s recent nuclear disaster. The population itself is so shaken with the events that two thirds of it are now supporting the governmen’s project to invest in wind and solar power. The idea is to make Japan rely entirely on renewable sources by 2050, which is a pretty high standard from what it has today.
Currently Japan has a 30% nuclear input and just a 3% clean power generation. The government is putting a stop on any new construction of reactors and is currently reorienting towards other horizons.
Anyone who knows a bit of geography knows that Japan stands very well at the geothermal energy chapter: it has 120 active volcanoes and 28,000 hot springs that go along. So it seems only natural that it should take advantage of nature’s gifts. Because of national parks and spas that block developments in those areas, the government could only come up with 14 GW of geothermal energy.
There’s nothing to worry about, though. Japan’s long coastline and the north-east region have it all going for them in terms of a profitable installation of wind turbines. Up there the wind is strong and there is plenty of land, making it the perfect location for any offshore farms that might venture in the area. Thus, one could see 24 to 140 GW-capacity turbines pop up during the next few years.
According to a report on the subject made public by the Ministry of the Environment in April, even if these turbines would work only a quarter of the time, there would still be a production of about 35 GW of electricity – the equivalent of the country’s 40 nuclear reactors.
The potential of solar energy is not left out either: it could give out 69 to 100 GW of electricity, without using much of the land destined for agriculture.
None of these can be realized without an appropriate infrastructure. The Japanese parliament is currently analyzing a proposal of special tariffs for providers that might be willing to contribute with clean energy to the national grid.
If there was clearly a lack of official interest in this matter so far, the approval of these incentives should attract providers as soon as possible. This is a huge task Japan is undertaking, but we remain confident they will do a good job, just as they’ve always done!