Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Japan puts nuclear energy on hold, embraces solar power
16 Apr 2013

Two years after the Fukushima Daiichi disaster in 2011, Japan has scaled back it's nuclear power and is seeking to diversify it's energy mix, with solar power showing the strongest growth.

Supporters of Japan's nuclear industry claim it would be unwise to give up the advantages of nuclear power because of a single accident. However, Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe knows that restarting the country's nuclear power plants will be highly unpopular, says Professor Dr Stefan Lippert, World Review expert on economics.

"Japan will pursue a highly diversified energy policy", he says. "In particular it will focus on reducing the costs of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and increasing the share of renewables". "In 2012, Japan added approximately 2.5 GW of solar power capacity to the 4.8 GW already installed", he says.

The Japanese government continues to favour wind over solar power, but the market shows a strong preference for solar, at least as long as the very high feed-in tariffs-in international terms-are kept in place. However, Shinzo Abe refuses to rule out the prospect of re-starting the shut-down reactors and building new nuclear power plants in the future, although he has not provided a timeline for this. "The final decision on Japan's long-term energy strategy will not be made before the 2020s", says Dr Lippert.