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Tag Archives: Japan

India and Japan press ahead – South Korea too

By Dave Elliott

Although renewables are still nowhere near as advanced in India as in China (see my last post), where they are now at over 550 GW including hydro, India had got to 91 GW by the end of 2016, and is expanding fast, with 29 GW of wind capacity in place. It’s the same in Japan, although, with the post-Fukushima nuclear mess still often dominating the news, less is heard about that. But by the end of 2016 it had 72 GW of renewables, including 45 GW of PV solar. And the prospects for growth of renewable capacity are good in both countries. (more…)

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Japan – pressure for more renewables mounts

by Dave Elliott

Japan’s use of both fossil fuels and renewables has increased since the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster but, with energy costs being high, improved energy efficiency and massive energy saving drives have pushed national power consumption in 2015 down 12% below the 2010 level. There have been attempts to get approval to restart some the 43 surviving reactors, but so far only 3 have restarted fully – 2 more did, but then closed following court orders. With renewables, including hydro, supplying 14.3% of power in Japan in the year to March 2016, they are producing much more output than nuclear – 139TWh versus 4.3TWh in 2015. Rapid expansion is planned, but even more is being called for.  Meanwhile, the slow and expensive process of cleaning up Fukushima rumbles on, with worries still emerging about leaks and contamination.

(more…)

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Wind power around the world

By Dave Elliott

Wind power is booming globally, with over 370GW of electricity generation capacity installed so far. It could jump to 2,000 GW, more than five times its current level by 2030, supplying up to 19 % of global electricity, the Global Wind Energy Council says, although that would require ‘unambiguous commitment to renewable energy in line with industry recommendations … [and] the political will to commit to appropriate policies’. (more…)

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Land use and energy

By Dave Elliott

By their nature, renewable energy flows are diffuse and the technology for capturing energy from the flows has to cover relatively large areas. It is instructive, and sobering, to revisit Professor David MacKay’s calculations about the areas required to match the energy needed per person from renewable sources: http://www.withouthotair.com/.

However, as I noted in an earlier post (on his comparisons between wind/solar and shale gas), some of his analysis is a little limited, and the general conclusions have to be put in perspective. (more…)

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Renewables progress: markets bite 2

By Dave Elliott

In my last post I looked at how competitive market pressures were being imposed on renewables by the UK coalition government, via new Contacts for a Difference contract auction processes.  While progress is still being made, as the technologies develop and become more economic, the rapid expansion of some options does seem to be facing difficulties in the UK, arguably as a result of government policies- or,  in some cases, the lack of them.  (more…)

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Japan-progress on new energy

By Dave Elliott

The interim energy policy  outline that emerged in 2012 after the Fukushima nuclear disaster envisaged getting between 25% and 35% of Japans electricity from renewables by 2030, with wind and solar playing major roles.  A new fuller plan is expected soon, but in the meantime progress is being made with renewables, with the Japan Renewable Renewable Energy Foundation claiming that ‘Japan will be able to increase the electricity from renewables to at least 20% of its total consumption by FY2020 without putting an undue burden on corporations or on households’.  (more…)

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A 2012 renewables progress report

By Dave Elliott

2012 saw renewable energy being taken increasingly seriously as a major new energy option, if not the major new nergy option. There is now 238GW(e) of wind capacity in place globally, 245GW(th) of solar thermal heating and 70GW of solar PV and rapid expansion continues, despite the global recession, with wind capacity expected to double over the next five year and PV solar perhaps treble.

‘The share of renewable energy in global primary energy could increase from the current 17% to between 30% to 75%, and in some regions exceed 90%, by 2050.’ So said the Global Energy Assessment (GEA) produced by an international team led by the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis. The report (which I mentioned in an earlier blog post) is now online at: http://www.iiasa.ac.at/web/home/research/researchPrograms/Energy/Home-GEA.en.html

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Japan’s Energy Plan

By Dave Elliott

In the aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in March last year, Japan has been trying to develop an alternative approach to energy supply and use, based on energy efficiency and a major commitment to renewables, including a new quite generous Feed-In Tariff for PV solar, a 1GW off shore wind programme and more support for other marine renewables- offshore projects obviously make sense in a country where land is at a premium. I outlined some of the offshore wind projects in an earlier Blog- they included floating wind turbines off the coast from Fukushima: http://environmentalresearchweb.org/blog/2012/07/greening-japans-energy.html.

In addition the government has decided to allow geothermal energy projects in newly opened areas of national parks. It is claimed that this could result in the development of up to 2 GW of capacity by the 2020s. As a very symbolic start, a 500 kilowatt geothermal plant is to be installed at the Tsuchiyu Onsen hot spring in Fukushima City. Some new biomass projects have also been started, including algae production for biofuels.

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Greening Japan’s energy

By Dave Elliott

As part of its policy of moving away from nuclear power, the Japanese government is pushing ahead with renewables and improved energy efficiency. Given the urgent need to cut energy demand, following the shut down of all its nuclear plants in May, it encouraged voluntary energy saving initiatives, with some success. Although, despite major protest, two nuclear plants have now been started up again, the summer air conditioning load may still present problems, and the energy savings programme is being expanded. The government has called for 15% cuts. It has also requested retailers and home appliance makers to voluntarily halt production and sale of inefficient incandescent lightbulbs. Under Japans existing basic energy plan, all lighting products were already meant to be replaced by LED or other low energy lights by 2020. Japan’s Institute of Energy Economics says that, if all incandescent bulbs/fluorescent lamps currently used were replaced by LED lights, the total annual power saved would be 9%, the equivalent output of 13 nuclear reactors.

Understandably, given that Japan is a series of relatively crowded Island with constraints on land use, the renewables programme is focused heavily on offshore resources. The government is supporting the development of a range of marine power technologies with plans for a series of trials next year. The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, the Ministry of Environment and others have earmarked a total of 10 billion yen for promoting marine renewable energies in the fiscal 2012 budget. Most of the funds are for projects related to floating wind turbines.

(more…)

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