July 13(Wednesday)

"No. 24 [Conversion] Ushering in a New Era! Bill to Promote Renewable Energies"


Starting July 14, deliberations will begin on the Bill to Promote Renewable Energies. What changes will this legislation bring to the energy structure of Japanese society? This installation will explain the basics of the basics.



<"Energy Shift Now!" Meeting (June 15)>

<Actress Ms. Miyuki Matsuda>
Ms. Matsuda: You are the only person who can drive this change right now. I earnestly ask for your leadership on this. (Applause from the audience)

<A letter of request seeking the enactment of the Bill to Promote Renewable Energies during the current Diet session is handed to the Prime Minister>


<Commemoration Ceremony of the 50th Anniversary of the OECD, Paris, France (May 25)>

Prime Minister: Madam Chair, Japan will now review its basic energy plan from its basis and is set to address new challenges!


This year in May, the Prime Minister declared Japan's "new challenges" on the international stage.


Prime Minister: We will engage in drastic technological innovation in order to increase the share of renewable energy in total electric power supply to at least go beyond 20% by the earliest possible in the 2020s!


Excluding hydroelectric power generation, renewable energies currently account for just 1% of total electric power supply. A key driver for vastly expanding this ratio is precisely the Bill to Promote Renewable Energies.


Breakdown of Electric Power Supply (FY2007)

Natural gas 282.2 billion kWh (28%)
Nuclear power 263.8 billion kWh (26%)
Coal 260.5 billion kWh (25%)
Petroleum 135.6 billion kWh (13%)
Hydroelectric power 78.4 billion kWh (8%)
Renewable energies 10.0 billion kWh (1%)
(excluding hydroelectric power)      

Source: Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, "Energy Supply and Demand Structure in 2030"


It used to be that electric power had to be transported from afar from large power generating stations.
Today, solar panels and other devices have made privately-owned power generation technologically feasible. Nevertheless, the still high installation costs and lack of stability have prevented its widespread adoption.
Against this backdrop, the new bill will allow electric power companies to purchase privately generated power at fixed prices. This is expected to increase the number of households and other entities utilizing privately-owned power generation with a sense of assurance, advance the mass production and research of solar panels and other devices, decrease costs significantly, and furthermore, increase stability.
Ultimately, it will allow Japan to realistically reduce its dependence on nuclear power and other non-renewable energy sources.
This bill will, indeed, be the entry point to the energy reform with the public's participation!


<"Energy Shift Now!" Meeting (June 15)>

<Ms. Takako Momoi, NPO Kiko Network>
Ms. Momoi: This legislation has been much anticipated by us, citizens, for many decades.


<Singer Ms. Tokiko Kato>
Ms. Kato: I sincerely pray for its enactment.


"Energy Shift Now!" is a public meeting that seeks to convert Japan's energy supply to renewable energies. At this meeting attended by a range of influential people and Diet members, the Prime Minister said...


Prime Minister: The choice is not between fossil fuels and nuclear power. The job of specialists or politicians is to create options. This bill will be a step forward for the development of options, and I would like this bill to be passed no matter what it takes!


In 1980, politician Naoto Kan wrote the following in one of the policy documents from the election which he first won.


<From a policy document>
Nuclear power stations continue to pose high risks. The development of naturally existing renewable energies, including solar, wind, and geothermal, ought to be promoted.


<Open Forum>

The Prime Minister currently holds open forums using the Internet. Here, too, opinions are exchanged on energy policy with a variety of influential people.


<Former coach of the Japan national soccer team Mr. Takeshi Okada (at the Prime Minister's Office)>
Mr. Okada: We are borrowing nature from our descendants. Something we are borrowing should not be destroyed, dirtied, or damaged.


<Musician Mr. Ryuichi Sakamoto (via video)>
Mr. Sakamoto: The technology is already out there. We just haven't been putting it to use. If we put our minds to it, we can definitely do it.


<Film director Mr. Hayao Miyazaki (via mobile video)>
Mr. Miyazaki: Please pass the natural energy bill. Whether you are quitting or not quitting, keep urging and making appeals to the people.


Prime Minister: This is an issue which I must tackle based on my responsibility as Prime Minister. At the same time, I will be thoroughly engaged in this issue for as long as I live. Thank you very much for your contributions today.


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