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Japan adds renewable energy capacity worth 2 nuclear reactors

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Renewable energy facilities that newly started operating in fiscal 2012 in Japan totaled 2.08 million kilowatts in capacity, which is worth two nuclear reactors, the Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry said Tuesday.

Solar power facilities, including those installed at homes and megasolar plants, largely contributed to the reading on the back of incentives introduced in July last year to promote renewable energy sources. Their capacity reached 1.98 million kw.

Because deliveries of some solar panels were not made in time, the capacity of operating facilities did not reach the 2.5 million kw as projected by the government for the year ended in March.

But a ministry official said the introduction of renewable energy is "smooth," noting that facilities with a combined 1.28 million kw capacity commenced operations in April and May.

Meanwhile, the capacity of facilities approved to operate by the ministry came to about 21.09 million kw between July last year and March this year, in a sign that many facilities are not yet in service despite winning the permission.

Under the so-called feed-in tariff scheme, power utility firms are obliged to pay for electricity generated from renewable energy sources at fixed prices. The costs are passed on to consumers.

Japan is gearing up to introduce renewable energy after the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster heightened public concerns over the use of nuclear power. Of the 50 commercial reactors, only two are currently online.

In fiscal 2011, renewable energy accounted for about 10 percent of Japan's total power generation. Excluding hydroelectric power, the figure stood at a mere 1.4 percent, according to METI.

==Kyodo

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/kyodo-news-international/130820/japan-adds-renewable-energy-capacity-worth-2-nuclear-r