Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Renewable energy: Policy matters!

Learn from failure.

Japan had been leading solar cell market both in production and implementation till 2004. Sharp had been No.1 producer for a long time. But in 2007, it gave up No.1 position to Q Cells, a German company.

Everyone would know that Germany is heavily invested in renewables. They introduced feed-in-tariff which boosted German solar power market. And it's not only Germany - a lot other countries are pursuing renewable energy as policy goal.

A lot of countries, except for one country that once boasted World's No.1 solar cell technology and market - Japan.

There is no sign that Japan will start investing seriously in renewable energy as policy, at least as earnestly as other countries. Consequently, it is losing its ground on such a promising field and its leadership role in the market. How sad.

This shows that technology won't spur on its own; policy direction and support (including incentives and regulatory changes) really matters for this kind of paradigm shift.

1 comment:

Martin J Frid said...

Fortunately, things are quite different in reality, with major electricity companies supporting feed-in tariffs in Japan.

Japan has a goal of becoming a low-carbon society, and wants a 15% reduction in carbon levels from 2005 levels by 2020 along with 28GW of installed PV -- and to this end, Japan introduced a feed-in tariff, which goes into effect on Nov. 1, 2009. Utilities will be obligated to purchase PV generated electricity at ¥48/kWh for ten years. The recent elections in Japan brought a change in the government, though it is still friendly to solar, seeking to reduce carbon levels by 25% below 1990 levels by 2020; this new goal (among other goals) remains under review.