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The Fukushima Cloud's (Green, Not Silver) Lining

Commodities / Renewable Energy Jun 02, 2011 - 04:57 PM GMT

By: OilPrice_Com

Commodities

The ongoing tragedy of Japan's Daichi Fukshima nuclear complex will prove to be a boon for renewable energy in Japan, and astute investors should begin carefully to follow Tokyo's new priorities.

Before the March 11 twin disasters of a massive earthquake followed by a devastating tsunami, about 30 percent of Japan's electricity was generated by nuclear power, and Tokyo had ambitious plans to raise its market share to 50 percent over the next two decades, with renewable accounting for 20 percent, Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan told journalists earlier last month.


That optimistic policy is now in tatters, and Kan added, "However (following Fukushima), we now have to go back to the drawing board and conduct a fundamental review of the nation's basic energy policy."

Kan is now touting the government's "Sunrise Project," which has been moribund for the last seven years. The goal of the Sunrise Project is to reduce the cost of solar power over the decade to a third of current levels and to one-sixth by 2030 as an incentive for more people to install it.

At the 50th anniversary of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris Kan told reporters, "Japan will now review its basic energy plan from scratch and is set to address new challenges."

The scale of the government's turn away from nuclear and fossil fuel power is extraordinary, as currently renewable energy resources, such as solar and wind, only make up about 1 percent of Japan's total power supply. Even with hydropower, the ratio is about only 9 percent.

According to China Business the earthquake and tsunami halted production at most of Japan's giant solar power companies, including Kyocera, Sharp and Sanyo because of the subsequent lack of electricity. Prior to the earthquake China and Japan essentially shared the European photovoltaic (PV) market; since the earthquake analysts predict that Japan will lose one quarter of its market share.

The shift has already started, as The Nikkei business daily reported on Wednesday that Softbank Corp, Japan's third-largest mobile phone operator, has announced plans to assist in the construction of about ten 20-megawatt facilities, costing about 8 billion yen ($100 million) each. But, as in many Western countries dominated by the nuclear and oil industries, solar energy policies have up to now enjoyed fitful support in Japan, where pioneers such as Sharp Corp and Kyocera Corp have lost their lead to overseas rivals that received larger subsidies and lower production costs. Furthermore, the cost of solar panel installation in Japan is double that in Germany.

So, who will be one of the major beneficiaries of this policy shift towards reducing solar costs?

China, surprise surprise.

China now has over 400 PV companies and now produces approximately 23 percent of photovoltaic products used worldwide. Three years ago China produced 1,700 megawatts of solar panels, nearly half of the world production of 3,800 MW, of which 99 percent were exported. According to Huang Xinming, head of a research institute at JA Solar, a large Chinese solar power company, JA Solar has just developed a new technology that could cut the cost of producing silicon, an important material in manufacturing solar panels, by 60 percent.

Expect to see a flood of yen into China's PV industries; smart Western investors will head east as well, where the sun always rises.

Source: http://oilprice.com/Alternative-Energy/Renewable-Energy/The-Fukushima-Cloud-s-Green-not-Silver-Lining.html

This article was written by Dr. John CK Daly for Oilprice.com who offer detailed analysis on Crude Oil, Geopolitics, Gold and most other commodities. They also provide free political and economic intelligence to help investors gain a greater understanding of world events and the impact they have on certain regions and sectors. Visit: http://www.oilprice.com

© 2011 Copyright OilPrice.com- All Rights Reserved
Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisors.


© 2005-2019 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Comments

Make Your Own Solar Panel
03 Jun 11, 14:58
solar panels
What had happened to japan is a tragedy for it affects all of the things in there. And so by destroying of is nuclear plant they are planning to be installing solar panel n a low pricing for the people to avail and to use it in the future. Nuclear power pant generates a high energy but then it spreads radiation that is not good for us all unlike to solar panel that it’s all natural. Make Your Own Solar Panel
jonnysingapore
05 Jun 11, 13:07
future energy

thorium nuclear is far safer - no pressurised vessels, no chain reaction that can run out of control, can be built as small modules and 'added together', waste that is only radioactive for 300 years (ie manageable and costable) but the wonderful private sector has no intention of giving us the choice.

It's uranium or nothing as far as they are concerned, and when that's run out in 50 years time, they will expect govts to pay for development of new technology which they will then pick up for nothing.

also, hydrogen is very exciting these days - storage in 'beads' makes it readily pourable and transportable, and with current laser technology can be burnt very precisely.

Govt's won't allow us to make our own energy as it will scare off private sector investment.


Jared Ample
04 Aug 11, 18:33
Solar panels on households

I really hope that the solar panel prices will be reduced for the next couple of years so that many people could install it on their homes. If the usage of solar panel increases then the use of nuclear power plants will be unnecessary in some point.


jonnysingapore
04 Aug 11, 19:43
solar, hmmm

There are non silicon based solar panels now (ie cheaper), but they are not very powerful so its not clear how useful they really are. Ink based I think.

Also we must stop the stupid practice of using up land for solar panels when we need to grow food.

We need to separate generation from CO2 capture, so that we do each in the most efficient way possible.

eg coal is highly plentiful, hundreds of years worth and WILL be used.

But we could use super algae to absorb CO2 in big quantities.

Maybe our buildings will have to have large petri-dish like structures on the walls growing super algae to perform the absorption.

Maybe we build petri-dish farms to absorb large amounts of CO2.

Need to think outside the box a lot more than current ideas and the stupid subsidy levels.


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