Page 14

Nuclear Power Plant in Ohi, Japan

strategy. So, what can be said about the future of energy in Japan? Renewable energy is the first thing that comes to mind. If it could be properly developed, Japanese energy wealth would increase by orders of magnitude. With all of its seismic activity, Japan is a prime candidate for geothermal development. A 2011 survey carried out by the Ministry of the Environment suggests there to be 19 gigawatts of available geothermal resource potential. Despite there being twenty or so geothermal plants scattered throughout the country, less than 5% of that potential is being harnessed. Such potential is not easily unlocked however, as geothermal power is one of the most expensive methods of generat-


ing electricity. Though geothermal plants require no fuel, making them immune to market fluctuations, the associated capital costs are tremendous. The drilling alone can cost billions of yen. With the current economic climate in Japan, those costs would be difficult to justify. Solar photovoltaics (PV), or solar power, are another viable source of renewable energy. They’re also being directly supported by the government with a feed-intariff system, which guarantees long-term, fixed-rate contracts to renewable energy producers. Thanks to these efforts, Japan has grown into the world’s second largest market for solar power. In 2014 alone, the country reportedly added 8 gigawatts of solar PV to its total power grid, largely from developments in the southwest. Solar PV is being made a national priority and March/April 2015 | nagazasshi

Nagazasshi 7.5  
Nagazasshi 7.5  

Curious about the future of energy in Japan? Check out the latest issue of Nagazasshi! Our spring issue introduces two new series: Café Cac...