Why has wind been so slow to take off in Japan?



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By mid-July, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) will have approved Japan’s new energy targets. Don’t expect too many surprises.

A recent draft was pretty predictable. Renewables — excluding hydropower — are to account for 22-24% of the mix by 2030, compared with 20-22% for nuclear, 26% for coal and 27% for natural gas. 

Equally predictable was the disappointment over the draft; the Japan Renewable Energy Foundation (JREF), which favours at least a 30% share for renewables, dismissed it as “retrograde”.

It remains unclear how much room is left for solar, particularly now that METI plans to review the feed-in tariff (FIT). But the FIT reduction is hardly the death knell for Japanese PV: at the start of 2015, roughly 76GW had been approved for development, and Bloomberg New Energy Finance predicts at least a few more years of 10GW-plus annual installations.