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Japan’s renewable energy revolution


Presentation to Hokkaido International Business Association, March 21, 2013

Presentation to Hokkaido International Business Association, March 21, 2013

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  • 1. ``Japan’s Renewable Energy Revolution: What it Means For Hokkaido Businesses`` Eric Johnston Hokkaido International Business Association March 21st, 2013
  • 2. Japan and Renewable Energy: The Fundamental Facts  Proportion of Japan’s electricity generated by renewable energy, including hydro, in 2011: 9.1 percent  Proportion of electricity generated by renewable energy, excluding hydro, that same year: 1 percent  Official estimate of how much power solar energy could ``feasibly’’ generate: 100- 150GW  No. of homes one GW of energy will supply: 243,000
  • 3. Japan and Renewable Energy: The Fundamental Facts  Japan’s potential onshore wind power capacity: 30GW  No. of installed wind turbines (Sept. 2011): 1,807  Total wind energy generating capacity: 2.4GW  Est. geothermal generating capacity: 23.5GW  No. of geothermal plants: 19  Total generating capacity: 535MW
  • 4. The New Tariff means businesses in five different renewable energy industries can sell their power at a guaranteed fixed rate over a fixed period of time
  • 5. THE NEW FEED-IN TARIFFS SOLAR POWER Output Range ABOVE 10 KW BELOW 10KW Basic Tariff (per kilowatt/hour) 42 yen 42 yen PERIOD 20 years 10 years
  • 6. THE NEW FEED-IN TARIFFS WIND POWER Output Range ABOVE 20 KW BELOW 20KW Basic Tariff (per kilowatt/hour) 23.10 yen 57.75 yen PERIOD 20 years
  • 7. THE NEW FEED-IN TARIFFS GEOTHERMAL POWER Output Range ABOVE 15 KW BELOW 15KW Basic Tariff (per kilowatt/hour) 27.30 yen 42 yen PERIOD 15 years
  • 8. THE NEW FEED-IN TARIFFS MINI-HYDRO Output Range 1mW-30mW 200kW-1mW Under 200kW Basic Tariff (per kilowatt hour) 25.20 yen 30.45 yen 35.70 yen PERIOD 20 years
  • 9. THE NEW FEED-IN TARIFFS BIOMASS Sector Methane Gas Unused Wood Products General Wood Waste-related Biomass Recycled Wood Products Type Sewer Sludge Gas Household Waste Unused Wood Products General Wood Solid General Waste Solid Sludge “ Basic Tariff (per kwH) 40.95 yen 33.60 yen 25.20 yen 17.85 yen 13.65 yen Period 20 years
  • 10.  From April to October 2012, the number of renewable energy power facilities approved as targets by electricity purchasing schemes was 146,899, generating 2,557 megawatts (MW)  Electricity output from approved renewable sources: 86% was from solar power  Output from solar power facilities that generate 10 kW or more (non- residential), including mega solar power facilities, accounted for 64% of the total renewable energy sources.  Although a large quantity of the total approved power will
  • 12. PROBLEMS AND CHALLENGES: SOLAR POWER Unlike many other countries, the FIT for solar power is strict, either under or over 10kW. Different FITs for 10, 20, 50, and 100 kW plants are desired. More flexibility with FIT period is needed. FIT critics charge that it is designed to benefit a few large
  • 13. PROBLEMS AND CHALLENGES: WIND POWER  FIT needs to be based on wind conditions of location, not a fixed amount of power generation for all locations.  Noise: Local communities complain about loud windmills  Birds: Bird strikes and migratory patterns mean strict environmental regulations on wind farm development in places like the area in and around the Kushiro Wetlands.  Remoteness: On-shore windmills often
  • 14. PROBLEMS AND CHALLENGES: GEOTHERMAL POWER  Vast majority of Japan’s geothermal resources in National Park areas: Strict Environmental regulations.  Many ideal geothermal locations on, or beside, onsens, whose politically- connected owners oppose geothermal development for business reasons.  Geothermal requires heavy initial investment. High cost to maintain and repair plants.
  • 15. PROBLEMS AND CHALLENGES: MINI- HYDRO POWER  Requires rivers and streams with regular flows of water at ideal speeds.  Strict gradation requirements often means construction work is needed, creating further environmental damage.  Remote areas of many ideal mini-hydro spots means increased costs to deliver generated electricity.
  • 16. PROBLEMS AND CHALLENGES: BIOMASS POWER  For Wood Products, responsibility is divided between Forestry Agency (under MAFF) and METI. Bureaucratic turf wars means bureaucratic headaches for Biomass producers.  Utilities very cold toward biomass power; grid connections are often extremely expensive.  Biomass seen more as heat, rather than electricity, generating resource.
  • 17. HOKKAIDO?
  • 18. Renewable Energy Projects Are Moving Forward, Especially in Solar and Wind  Japan’s largest solar power plant to date will be built in Hokkaido: 200MW-20 times the capacity of the country’s currently largest plant in Sakai, Osaka Pref.  Softbank’s Masayoshi Son has targeted Tomakomai and Obihiro for both solar and wind farm development. Projects are generating hundreds of megawatts.
  • 19. HOKKAIDO’S POTENTIAL (SOURCE: Renewable Energy Organization Hokkaido)
  • 21. HOKKAIDO’S MAIN ADVANTAGES FOR EMBRACING RENEWABLES  Nuclear Power Lobby is extremely weak in Hokkaido, compared to Tokyo and especially Kansai.  Environmental conservation and awareness high.  Climate, topography, geography, population spread more favorable toward smaller, independent renewable energy projects than in large cities.  Conditions for offshore wind and
  • 22. CHALLENGES HOKKAIDO MUST OVERCOME FOR RENEWABLES  Tendency of local politicians and bureaucrats, and major corporations, to not take initiative and to leave all major decisions affecting Hokkaido to Tokyo.  Skepticism among many in Hokkaido, especially older generations running the prefecture, about technical feasibility of renewable energy.  Ensuring that weather extremes do not interrupt renewable energy supplies, especially in winter.