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Mega solar power plants may be excessively concentrated in Hokkaido.

Dec 7,2012 -

TOKYO, Dec. 7 Kyodo

Japan has seen a rapid increase in solar power generation facilities since the introduction five months ago of incentives to invest in clean energy, but the northernmost prefecture Hokkaido faces an excess of massive-scale solar plants, industry minister Yukio Edano said Friday.

Solar power facilities, each with more than a 1,000 kilowatt output, that have been approved for operation by the Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry totaled 1.8 million kilowatts in capacity as of October nationwide. Of the total, about 341,000 kilowatts are planned to be installed in Hokkaido, according to the ministry.

The imbalance apparently emerged because Hokkaido has vast spaces and its land prices are relatively cheap, the ministry said.

But the capacity of power transmission lines and related facilities in Hokkaido is relatively small and it may be difficult to introduce solar power generation capacity beyond around 400,000-600,000 kilowatts.

At the same time, Hokkaido is a promising area for wind power generation and the ministry pointed to the need to leave some room to create facilities that would generate power with wind.

"Mega solar power systems can be installed anywhere in the country, and there is sufficient room to establish it in regions other than Hokkaido," Edano told a press conference.

Under the feed-in tariff scheme which started in July, utilities buy all electricity generated from renewable sources such as solar, wind, water and geothermal power at preset premiums for up to 20 years, with costs to be passed on to consumers.



Updated: 2016/06/30

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