In a down market, and in a country that has been affected by a catastrophic natural disaster that wreaked havoc on an energy source that supplied 1/3 of the total energy used for power, Japan has decided to shift away from nuclear power, and invest heavily in solar, geothermal, and wind power.
The move also almost certainly signals the departure of Prime Minister Naoto Kan. Last month, Kan laid out plans for three final legislative moves before fulfilling his pledge to resign. The legislative action, which will require utilities to buy electricity generated by geothermal, solar, and wind sources at above-market rates to stimulate investment in renewable energy will be Kan’s largest legislative move. His other two legislative actions should be fulfilled soon.
But will the shift towards renewables dissipate when Kan resigns? The overwhelming belief in Japan is no. With 70% of the country eager to move beyond nuclear after the Fukuskima disaster, and the size of the bill, which will heavily subsidize solar, wind, and geothermal markets for development for many years to come, the future of Japan’s power sector stands ready to be powered by renewables.