Mixed Greens: Solar boom heads to Japan

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Japanese govt flags major PV stimulus; EU car emissions rule to boost jobs, savings; wind resource ‘excellent’ for SA CEP; Siemens’ NZ wind win.

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Japan is poised to overtake Germany and Italy to become the world’s second-biggest market for solar power as incentives starting July 1 drive sales. Bloomberg reports that Japanese Industry Minister Yukio Edano is today rumoured to be introducing a price for solar power at around triple what industrial users currently pay for conventional power. The move could lead to at least $US9.6 billion in new installations with 3.2GW of capacity, according to a forecast by Bloomberg New Energy Finance – an amount that’s roughly equal to output of three atomic reactors.

The “very attractive” rate, says KPMG associate and energy analyst Mina Sekiguchi, “reflects the government’s intention to set up many solar power stations very quickly, ” as part of its effort to cut dependence on atomic energy in the wake of the Fukushima disaster in 2011. However, not surprisingly, it is not being welcomed by everyone. “This is a mechanism with a high degree of market intervention by setting tariffs artificially high and making users shoulder the cost,” said Masami Hasegawa, senior manager of the environmental policy bureau of Keidanren, Japan’s most powerful business lobby. “We question the effectiveness of such a scheme.”

EU green car scheme to grow jobs

The EU’s proposed new vehicle emissions standards – which would see new vehicles set a goal of 95 grams of CO2 per kilometre from 2020, up from the current goal of 130g/km by 2015 – could create €9 billion of new jobs and save €36 billion in fuel costs by 2030, according to draft EU estimates. BusinessGreen reports that a working document assessing the impact of introducing the 95g/km limit outlines how spending on employment could rise by around €9 billion, boosting GDP by an estimated €12 billion, while improving air quality by cutting tailpipe emissions per vehicle kilometre by 27 per cent. The document also reveals that total emissions between 2010 and 2030 are expected to fall by 24 per cent for cars and 13 per cent vans, as a result of the proposed standards, cutting carbon emissions by 422 million tonnes over the period. It also argues that vehicle fuel imports would secure drastic savings of €27 billion a year from 2020 to 2025 and €36 billion a year through to 2030. The standards are also predicted to make the European car industry more competitive, creating jobs and putting the market at the forefront of the global low-carbon vehicle industry. The report estimates greener drivers can expect a €500 annual fuel saving, paying back the cost of additional green technology within two years.

Good wind for Clean energy Precinct

A preliminary wind energy production estimate for Petratherm’s Clean Energy Precinct in northern South Australia has indicated “good to excellent” potential. Petratherm said today that work undertaken by independent wind consultants, Gl Garrad Hassan, has shown  potential to develop up to 300MW of high-yielding wind power generation, and that capacity factors for wind power generation at the precinct are expected to range between 33.2 per cent (good) and 42.8 per cent (excellent). Petratherm’s Clean Energy Precinct (CEP) is being developed to deliver large-scale geothermal energy from Paralana geothermal energy project to the SA power grid, with expected large growth in electricity demand arising from mining developments in the northwest of SA. The project is expected to be developed in a staged process, initially involving gas and wind power generation, followed by the introduction of large-scale geothermal and potentially solar.

Siemens picks up wind in NZ

Siemens has announced it will be supplying and erecting the wind turbines for New Zealand’s newest wind farm, to be built for Meridian Energy at Mill Creek north of Wellington. The Mill Creek wind farm will have 26 2.3MW turbines and will be able to provide the equivalent energy to power 30,000 average New Zealand households. Paul Ravlich, CEO of Siemens New Zealand, says the wind farm’s location, located 10km north of West Wind, is ideal, with consistent and powerful winds that are widely regarded as some of the best conditions for energy generation in the world.


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