Japan wind power installations to drop 68% as subsidies halted

Japan’s wind power installations for the year ending in March will decline 68 per cent after the government halted a program that provided subsidies for clean energy projects, an industry association said.

The country will add 33 turbines generating 82 megawatts of wind power for the year ending March, according to an estimate by the Japan Wind Power Association released today. For the year ended March 2011, Japan installed 256 megawatts.

Japan stopped direct subsidies in 2010 that paid for a third of the cost of renewable energy projects as the country planned a shift to an incentive payment program, Takao Hanaoka, a spokesman for the association, said by phone today. The preferential tariffs, due to start in July, have yet to be set and that may have contributed to the decline, Hanaoka said.

Japan is targeting an increase in renewable energy generation as most of the country’s atomic reactors are shut for checks following the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl last March. Before the accident, atomic power provided about 30 percent of Japan’s electricity supply.

The country’s cumulative wind power capacity may reach 2,600 megawatts by March 2014 from the current 2,522 megawatts, the association said, urging the government to make an early decision on the tariffs and wind power generation targets.

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