The “feed-in tariff scheme for renewable energy” started on July 1, 2012. This scheme, called FIT (short for Feed-in Tariff), is operated based on a law※1 under which the government made it mandatory for utilities to purchase electricity generated from renewable energy sources.※2
※1 The name of the law is the “Act on Special Measures Concerning Procurement of Electricity from Renewable Energy Sources by Electricity Utilities.”
※2 The types of renewable energy subject to this scheme include solar, wind power, hydropower (less than 30,000 kW), geothermal, and biomass.
Since it costs more to set up renewable energy facilities compared to facilities for other power sources, their deployment will be slow if they are left to do it alone. Therefore, the government has come in to support their deployment. The government has set the sales price of electricity which is generated efficiently using renewable energy sources, and made it mandatory for utilities to purchase such electricity.
Presently, Japan’s energy self-sufficiency is a mere 8.3% if you include nuclear power generation. To make up for the shortage, Japan relies almost entirely on the import of fossil fuel such as petroleum, coal, and natural gas from abroad. Securing alternative energy sources to replace fossil fuels is an issue that would need to be addressed in order to ensure energy stability in the future.
Renewable energy sources, which include solar, wind power, hydropower (less than 30,000 kW), geothermal, and biomass, can generate power through phenomena that occur repeatedly in the natural world. Hence these energy sources will not be exhausted and can be used sustainably.
These types of renewable energy resources are abundant in Japan, a nation blessed with nature.
Deployment and expansion of renewable energy will contribute to increasing Japan’s energy self-sufficiency. In addition, it is an effective measure to address global warming, by not increasing CO2.※3 Furthermore, renewable energy is expected to contribute to fostering future industries in Japan.
※3 When trees are burned, CO2 is produced. However, when they grow, they absorb CO2 and emit oxygen. Hence, CO2 in the atmosphere does not increase and CO2 balance is considered to be net-zero.