September 23, 2011

Japan to set new energy policy by early 2013

Japan's government plans to formulate a new energy policy by early 2013, and will unveil a range of options to meet energy demand to 2030 by March, Tokyo Shimbun daily said on Friday, possibly delaying investment on renewable energy and increasing the usage of fossil fuels in the near term.

Japan has said it would wean itself from nuclear power amid increased public concern over safety, after a massive earthquake and tsunami in March triggered the world's worst atomic crisis in 25 years at the Fukushima Daiichi station.

To make up for the fall in nuclear power generation, Tokyo has said the country would boost power conservation and the use of renewable energy in its new medium-term portfolio for electricity.

But details are not yet clear on how and when to make changes that also have to meet Tokyo's ambitious goal to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2020 from 1990 levels.

A government committee to draft options for a new portfolio will be set up as early as this month and its discussion will include each option's impact on electricity bills, the outlook for fossil fuel imports and feasibility of new power generation technologies, the daily said.

In the previous plan for 2030, compiled last year, Japan said it would rely on nuclear power for 53 percent of electricity demand, 21 percent on renewable energy, including large-sized hydro power, and the remaining 26 percent on fossil fuels.

Before the March disaster, fossil fuels provided more than 60 percent of the country's power demand, followed by about 30 percent from nuclear power and the rest from renewable sources. 

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