With 70 percent of Japanese now saying they want to phase out atomic energy, legislators have passed a bill to subsidize wind and solar power. The measure requires power companies to buy solar and wind energy at inflated prices. The idea is to make it worthwhile for companies to invest in expensive technology and speed up Japan’s shift toward renewable energy.
What’s the Big Idea?
The country’s plan is to reduces its reliance on nuclear power to zero by 2050. If that happens, it would be a stunning turnaround. Nuclear power now accounts for at least 25 percent of Japan’s energy. Solar and wind power makes up just 1 percent. But the country’s powerful nuclear energy industry is betting the public will forget its fear in the wake of the Fukushima power plant accident and return to ‘economic realism.’