NEW ENERGY LEADS CHANGE IN JAPAN
Japan parliament passes key renewable energy reform
Sugita Katyal, August 26, 2011 (Reuters)
"Laws to promote renewable energy in Japan passed a final hurdle...with the upper house of parliament formally approving a scheme that investors hope will ramp up spending on solar, wind and other green energy.
"The country is struggling to overhaul its energy policies after the March quake and tsunami triggered a nuclear disaster that shattered the public's confidence in the safety of the atomic industry and delayed the restart of idled plants. Costly oil and gas imports have soared."
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"Lawmakers say a national scheme starting next year that rewards green energy investments is part of the solution to replace lost power generation capacity and move the country away from new nuclear investment...The laws will require utilities to buy any amount of electricity generated from solar, wind, biomass, geothermal and small-sized hydro power plants at preset rates for up to 20 years.
"The [Kan] government...said it wants the feed-in tariff scheme to boost capacity of the five renewable energy types by more than 30,000 megawatts (MW) over a decade...But the bill leaves key details unresolved that could ultimately dilute its impact...[including] the price to be paid by utilities for each type of green energy...[With the bill passed, Prime Minister Naoto Kan] confirmed he would step down."