There has been a ‘frenzy’ of activity in the Japanese renewable energy market over the last year, while Germany is considering a cap on support levels.
Japan has added 912 MW of new renewable capacity since April and has a further 1780 MW of capacity approved by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, driven in part by a feed-in tariff introduced in July.
As the nation looks to move away from its reliance on nuclear power, the Ministry expects a further 2.5 GW of renewable generation to be added by the end of March next year.
Most of that new capacity is solar, with solar power accounting for 83% of renewable energy development since the introduction of the feed-in tariff.
Meanwhile, the government is also phasing in a tax on oil, natural gas and coal over the next five years, on top of levies already in place on fossil fuels.
But in Germany, the government is planning to limit support for wind and biomass generation, after bringing in similar measures for solar photovoltaics.
For years, renewable energy generators in Germany have been paid at above market rates for the electricity they produce leading to concerns that incentives are distorting the market.
Solar incentives for domestic installations have now been capped, and tariff rates decrease as the installation rate goes up.
Similar measures are now likely for wind power and biomass, although the authorities are also planning on increasing the overall target for renewables from 35% by 2020 to 40%.
The aim of the modifications is not to slow the expansion of renewables but limit the financial burden on consumers.
For further information:
Australia switches on first large-scale solar project (11-Oct)
Europe leads the world in solar panel installations (25-Sept)
Japan sets sights on a $628 billion green energy market (11-Jul)
Germany supplies record 50% electricity from solar power (30-May)
12 October 2012