UPDATE 1-Japan PM vows to boost renewable energy

Wed May 25, 2011 2:07pm EDT

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By Yoko Kubota

PARIS May 25 (Reuters) - Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan pledged on Wednesday to boost renewable energy to at least 20 percent of Japan's electricity supply in the 2020s, as he reviews the role of atomic energy after the world's worst nuclear disaster in 25 years.

Kan also assured world leaders the Japanese economy was recovering strongly two and a half months after the massive earthquake and tsunami struck northeastern Japan and left some 25,000 people dead or missing.

Kan's call to shift to green energy reflects efforts to ensure energy security and safety concerns after the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant that was crippled by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. [ID:nL3E7GP1GG]

Kan has called for a review of Japan's energy policy that aims to increase nuclear power to more than 50 percent of electricity supply by 2030 from about 30 percent now.

"Regardless of what energy policy we will adopt, we must ask ourselves the question whether it is appropriate for society to increase energy consumption without any limits," Kan said in a prepared speech to members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development in Paris.

Before the quake, resource-scarce Japan has touted nuclear power as a cost-effective way to reduce reliance on fossil fuel and was the world's third-biggest user of nuclear power.

Various types of renewable energy account for about 10 percent of Japan's power demand, but it was not clear exactly what type of renewable energy Kan was referring to.

Japan will also aim to cut solar power generation costs to one-third of the current by 2020 and one-sixth by 2030, he said, without mentioning details.

Solar power generation now costs about 50 yen per kilowatt hour, while nuclear and thermal power costs about 5-13 yen per kilowatt hour, government data showed.

He added that he aimed to place solar panels on some 10 million roofs in Japan by 2030.

In an earlier meeting with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Kan also assured France that Japan will continue to rely on nuclear power after enhancing its safety, though he did not say how big a role it would play in the country's energy balance.

The Japanese premier is set on Thursday to outline efforts to bring the Fukushima nuclear plant under control, at the beginning of the Group of Eight meeting at Deauville in France.

The world's third biggest economy stumbled into its second recession in three years after the disaster, though most economists see growth resuming in the second half of the year. (Reporting by Yoko Kubota; Editing by Maria Golovnina)

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Comments (3)
quatra wrote:
For a country like Japan, just after a disaster and no analog energy resources, there’s only one way to go. Fusion energy. It’ll resolve it’s energy problem forever and will give it an exportable technology with a very high added value.

May 25, 2011 4:41pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
eluxa wrote:
Thank you for your story.

It is important for the media to continue to ask TEPCO for numbers and ask the tough questions. Please ask them how much water is going into the Pacific daily, hourly, we should know the truth. The dumping of tonnes of water is hiding the truth of how much radioactive materials are coming from this accident. It’s their main cover up.

Also, there were radioactive readings from a leak or breach taken before the tsunami, a fact the media largely ignores. Yes the containment vessels that were safe from leaking, were cracked from the earthquake not the following tsunami.

Some big questions regarding Nuclear power need to be asked. There are how many tonnes of spent fuel kicking around on the planet, why are we building plants on fault lines and is there a better, safer way to generate energy we need? It’s a heck of a way to boil water would you not say.

It’s great for share holders of fine companies like GE who stand to make a profit at any cost. They can enjoy retirement with their heaps of cash, but their children and grandchildren will be looking for another planet to live on.

Check with Fairewinds Associates they are a very great source of news for what is happening and stay out of the rain.

May 25, 2011 8:08pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
globalex wrote:
Was that government figure of 5-13 yen before or after the nuclear meltdown? After the clean up solar will look cheap.

May 25, 2011 9:59pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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