Japan: PV on the ascent, but nuclear power uncertainty remains

The Agency for Natural Resources and Energy made the announcement on METI’s website with regards to the "Present status of introduction for facilities generating renewable energy as of January 31, 2013".

PV power for households accounted for 1,023 MW between April 2012 and January 2013. PV power facilities that excluded households accounted for 306 MW in the same time period. 300 MW of household PV capacity was generated between April and June alone last year.

Residential PV continues to dominate, though industrial, commercial and utility-scale applications are on the increase. As Izumi Kaizuka from RTS Corporation states, residential PV applications increased by about 50% from 1,103 MW in 2011 to 1,637 MW in 2012, but market share fell to 66.4% from 85.1%.

Industrial and commercial PV applications quadrupled in this period, while utility-scale PV grew seven times. Forecasts have already been made that Japan will overtake Italy, Germany and the US to become the global number two this year.

Court decides against Ohi reactor shutdown

Earlier this week, a Japanese court rejected the injunction on Ohi which demanded that the remaining two operational nuclear reactors be shut down. Anti-nuclear activists tried to have the reactors shut down with the support of seismologist reports that "suspect parts of the station sit above an active faultline".

This goes against Japanese law on nuclear siting but the courts decided against the petition. The court’s rejection was the country’s first ruling on atomic power since the Fukushima disaster, as Reuters reports.

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party, unlike its predecessors who promptly decided on the abandonment of nuclear power post-Fukushima, has been quiet with regards to nuclear power’s role in Japan’s energy policy.

The March 2011 event has been quoted as a "black swan" event, something that places the blame on the natural disaster instead. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has not made any major decisions on restarting the nuclear plants, a move that will probably be highly unpopular.