Library filed under Energy Policy from Asia
Japan's commitment to restarting many of its 50 idled reactors appears stronger than ever, a year after a previous government said it would begin to phase out nuclear power completely. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who took office in December, says nuclear power remains essential, even with a surge in generation capacity from solar, wind and other renewable sources, and that the world's No. 3 economy cannot afford the mounting costs from importing gas and oil.
"We have built the minimum necessary facilities, including power transmission lines according to demand, and there are times when connecting (renewable energy sources) is difficult due to capacity issues," an official with Hokkaido Electric said. ...in the absence of grid access rules, utilities often do not reveal how limited their delivery lines actually are or the details of the construction costs for letting providers use their grids.
The Wind Independent Power Producers Association has filed a petition with the Delhi High Court against the power regulator, the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission' over the Commission's recent ‘scheduling and forecasting' order.
A directive took effect this week ordering wind farms with a capacity of 10 megawatts or more to forecast their generation in 15-minute blocks for the following day. Missing estimates by more than 30 percent will incur penalties. ...The infrastructure can't cope with intermittent wind- and sun-power generation, which has doubled in capacity in five years to almost 20 gigawatts.
The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy wants to make procurement of electricity from renewable sources also through competitive bidding process, just as in the case of conventional power. ...The Indian wind industry is already in trouble. Two major incentives - generation-based incentive and accelerated depreciation - have been withdrawn from the beginning of the year.
Japan introduced subsidies known as feed-in tariffs on July 1 that require utilities to buy power from renewable energy providers at premium prices. As a result, investment in solar, wind and other forms of clean energy may jump to $17.1 billion this year from $8.6 billion in 2011, Bloomberg New Energy Finance estimates.
By far the biggest problem in attracting investors is the uncertainty surrounding the details of the government's energy policy, set to be unveiled sometime this summer. Although the government will force electricity companies to buy power from alternative-energy providers, for how many years and at what price isn't yet known. That lack of detail has muted investor interest.
In interviews, executives at top Chinese and foreign wind companies said many Chinese turbine makers would be squeezed out by the slowdown. One European turbine maker executive, who did not wish to be named, said the Chinese market was facing a "bloodbath".
The administration of U.S. President Barack Obama hopes it can reinvigorate the country's sluggish economy and spur job growth in part by bolstering the U.S. renewable-energy industry. Chinese companies undercut U.S. rivals on price because they get generous subsidies from the Chinese government. Under pressure from the Obama administration, China in June agreed to end many subsidies for its domestic wind-power-equipment manufacturers.
The nation seems to be sticking with nuclear power, at least for now. Unlike Germany, which accelerated plans to phase out atomic energy after Fukushima, Japan shows no signs of doing so. In recent days, utilities began newly mandated earthquake and tsunami stress tests, a first step toward restarting reactors idled for maintenance.
Green energy used to be Germany's great hope for its economic future. But now the German solar industry is in trouble amid huge losses, job cuts and the threat of bankruptcies. Chinese firms are gaining an ever greater share of the German market -- and are benefiting from German subsidies for renewable energy.
"The bills are half-baked. The investment plan is there but financing is lacking ...There is risk that stocks of solar and wind power plants will build up but won't be utilized effectively," he added. That would not hurt new suppliers given a preset return for a preset period but possibly clinch economic growth by boosting electricity bills for the sake of un-connected new facilities.
China is not an obvious environmental leader. It is beleaguered by severe pollution and generates more carbon emissions than any other nation. Yet many have trumpeted it as an emerging "green giant" for its non-carbon-based energy production and its aggressive promises to cut carbon ...the facts do not support this "green" success story.
As exciting as alternatives may seem, the answer to Japan's future energy needs is likely to come from more traditional sources, according to Ivo Bozon, a leading energy analyst at McKinsey & Company. "It takes a long-term commitment to get the scale necessary in renewables to produce meaningful amounts of the power ...There are physical limits on renewable energy."
The green agenda is still moving forward, but it is clear that in Europe it has become more challenging because of fiscal constraints," he told the Financial Times. Growth in new wind energy installations in Europe is forecast to shrink from 14 per cent in 2010 to 1 per cent this year, according to analysts at Citigroup. ...Vestas warned that, while 2010 was set to finish stronger than previously expected, revenues and profits were likely to be flat this year.
The United States has requested the consultations concerning China's program known as the Special Fund for Wind Power Manufacturing. Under this program, China appears to provide subsidies that are prohibited under WTO rules because the grants awarded seem to be contingent on Chinese wind power equipment manufacturers using parts and components made in China rather than foreign-made parts and components.
Hours after the Office of the United States Trade Representative announced an investigation into China's support for makers of wind and solar energy products, advanced batteries and energy-efficient vehicles, the Treasury Department said it would delay its semiannual report on foreign-exchange rates.
While Friedman and others bally-hoo China's investments in green energy, Beijing is rapidly expanding its investment in fossil fuels. Michael Economides, an energy expert at the University of Houston, wrote recently on Forbes's website of the "utterly massive level of spending that the Chinese have embarked upon in pursuit of expanding their traditional energy portfolio."
A new law blamed for soaring hydro rates in Ontario is causing consternation abroad, as Japanese officials announced Monday they are launching a trade challenge of the controversial Green Energy Act. The Japanese say the law unfairly shuts them out of the market because it includes rigid domestic content rules.
A fast expansion in wind power generation projects is not in accordance with China's reality, as sandstorms always go with wind, which would cause serious damage to the wind power equipment, said Miao Wei, vice minister of Industry and Information Technology