Japan earmarks $1.12 billion for renewable energy

The Japan Times reported on Wednesday that administration of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was seeking to secure JPY 130.7 billion ($1.12 billion) for the country’s fiscal 2015 budget to fund a number of renewable energy programs that promote renewable energy research and use.

The $1.12 billion figure is expected to include nearly $40 million aimed at lowering the cost of solar power generation.

Japan’s feed-in tariff scheme has been stymied by an overabundance of solar projects that has led to some utilities refusing to buy electricity due to grid constraints and the possibility of blackouts.

The Japan Times points out that the budget plan also indicates the government’s continued support for nuclear power, with nearly $17 billion slated for maintenance costs at the Monju prototype fast-breeder reactor in Fukui Prefecture, which was to play a key role in the country’s nuclear fuel recycling policy but has remained largely offline due to safety problems.

With some offline reactors set to come back online this year, the government has earmarked another $105 million for subsidies aimed to improve nuclear safety measures.