New energy is an important energy resource and plays an important role in meeting energy demand, improving energy structure, reducing environmental pollution, and promoting economic development. As the international community’s understanding of climate change issues has become more consistent, many countries in the world regard the development of new energy power generation as an important measure to alleviate energy supply conflicts and respond to climate change. New energy power generation has developed rapidly worldwide.
Japan is a country with relatively poor traditional energy resources. Solving the problem of energy supply shortage is the top priority of various Japanese governments. Its demand and determination to develop new energy are particularly urgent. In 1997, the Japanese government promulgated the “New Energy Law”, which introduced the basic guidelines for the development of new energy and proposed that the government should provide financial subsidies for the development of new energy technologies. In 2010, the latest version of “Japan’s Strategic Energy Plan” revised by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan more clearly made “expanding the introduction of renewable energy” as one of the specific methods of the current national energy strategy. Driven by the policy, Japan’s new energy power generation industry has achieved tremendous development.
In terms of photovoltaic power generation, in 2011, Japan’s newly installed photovoltaic power generation capacity reached 1.3 GW, an increase of 30.7% over the previous year, and the cumulative installed capacity reached nearly 5 GW.
In terms of wind power generation, in the early years of this century, Japan’s wind power industry has developed rapidly, but after 2009, it has slowed down significantly. By 2011, Japan’s annual new wind power generation was only 168MW, less than 0.4% of the world’s total installed capacity. The cumulative installed capacity is approximately 2500MW. However, it is worth mentioning that the available installed capacity of wind power in Japan with commercialization potential is still considerable, estimated to be about 140GW on land, and about 600GW in coastal areas and offshore.
In terms of geothermal power generation, as a volcanic island country, Japan is rich in geothermal resources, with a total geothermal resources of 23,470MW, ranking third in the world after Indonesia and the United States. There are currently 18 geothermal power stations in operation, mainly in the Tohoku and Kyushu regions, with a total installed capacity of 520MW. In order to achieve the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, Japan restarted the construction of a geothermal power station after a lapse of more than 20 years. Since the nuclear power plant accident caused by the Great Japan Earthquake, Japan has issued the “Renewable Resources Act” in order to relieve the burden of electricity consumption on enterprises and residents, encouraging autonomous power generation and at the same time speeding up the development and utilization of renewable energy such as geothermal energy.
In terms of nuclear power, Japan is a country that attaches great importance to the development of nuclear power. Before the Fukushima earthquake, the number of nuclear power plants in operation in Japan was 55, and nuclear power accounted for nearly 30% of the country’s total power generation. However, with the emergence of the Fukushima nuclear power crisis, calls for slowing down the development of nuclear power in Japan have become increasingly louder. At present, the Japanese government is adjusting its nuclear power development strategy, and it is estimated that it is unlikely that new nuclear power plants will be put into use in the near future.