Green energy feud holds energy policy hostage

March 30, 2014 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

The ruling parties and the government are still butting heads on how to rewrite the nation’s energy policy as renewable energy continues to be a major sticking point.

“We were expecting the government to present the final draft so we could endorse it and set the stage for the Cabinet approval . . . but we weren’t able to do that,” a key member of the ruling conservative Liberal Democratic Party told reporters after a meeting Friday with its junior coalition ally, New Komeito.

Discussions on the so-called Basic Energy Plan are taking place based on a draft presented by the government in February. The document does not refer to any numerical targets for renewable energy, raising concerns in New Komeito that the government may not be taking the issue seriously enough despite the Fukushima disaster.

New Komeito, which quoted renewable energy targets in its campaign pledge for the 2012 general election, said during the discussions Friday it wants the document to say the government will seek to bring renewable energy to a level “greatly above” the level targeted in past Basic Energy Plans.

In the Basic Energy Plan hammered out in 2010, the government expected renewable energy to supply about 20 percent of Japan’s total electricity needs in 2030, or about 214 billion kwh.

The government has not answered whether it will revise the draft in line with New Komeito’s request, the LDP lawmaker said.

A move that further complicated the situation was a statement made by Environment Minister Nobuteru Ishihara, who called for stating that renewable energy should be increased to as much as 30 percent of total power generation projected for 2030.

“We should make the 30 percent figure clear (in the energy plan),” Ishihara said at a news conference Friday, highlighting the importance of promoting renewable energy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“On climate change issues, we must change our policies rather than continue the existing ones,” he said.

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