Japan's lower house of parliament gives go-ahead to renewable energy bill
Aug 23, 2011 - The Japanese lower house of parliament gave the green light to a bill that calls for utilities to purchase all renewable energy produced by third parties at fixed rates.
The bill now goes to the upper house of parliament. The introduction of feed-in tariffs for solar, geothermal and wind power represents one of the key steps in Japan's plan to lower its dependence on nuclear power after the March 11 earthquake and the subsequent nuclear crisis.
Prior to March 11, Japan had 54 nuclear reactors that accounted for some 30% of the resource-barren country's energy mix. The figure was planned to reach 50% by 2030. Now, Japan targets increased renewable energy capacity and less nuclear.
In July, Prime Minister Naoto Kan said that Japan should seek to bolster the use of clean energy sources such as solar, wind and biomass and scrap its nuclear power ambitions. Kan is to leave office by the end of August as his popularity dropped significantly after the nuclear disaster.