Japanese wind power capacity rises but at slow pace

Government data has shown that at just 11.7 per cent in the year to March 2011, Japan's wind power capacity rose at its slowest pace for at least a decade, as it was set to launch a new subsidy system to lure investors to the sector.

Japan is overhauling its energy policy after the Fukushima crisis shattered public confidence in the safety of nuclear power, on which it had previously planned to rely on for over 50 per cent of electricity demand by 2030.

To accelerate the growth of renewable energy sources, parliament last year approved bills, effective in July 2012, requiring utilities to buy all electricity output from solar, wind and other renewable power plants at preset rates in a so-called feed-in tariff scheme.

Wind turbine capacity totalled 2442 MW as of March last year, according to data by a government-backed agency, New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO). In 2009/2010, capacity increased by 16.1 percent to 2,186 MW.

The next slowest pace in the past decade was marked in 2007/2008 of 12.3 per cent, when tighter building regulations following a scandal in 2005 over falsified engineering data for apartment blocks delayed the construction of wind farms.

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