Japan is expected to announce a requirement to have all new buildings include solar panels by 2030 at an upcoming G8 meeting in France on Thursday.
For awhile, people wondered how Japan would react to the Fukushima nuclear disaster (in the long term). Would it cut its plans to build 14 new nuclear reactors and have 50% of its energy supply coming from nuclear by 2050, or would it stay on that route once the steam from this disaster died down?
Well, in the past month or so, Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan has made the answer pretty clear. It is cutting its nuclear expansion plans completely (though, will continue start operation of its existing plants again soon following “confirmations” of safety — an announcement on this is also expected this Thursday). And rather than fill the gap with fossil fuels, it intends to keep on with its carbon-cutting policies by focusing on renewable energy and energy conservation instead.
And it seems, as a recent TIME piece stated, its leadership realizes that solar energy is one of its most promising assets. ”Geothermal, wind, biomass and small-scale hydropower projects all have potential in Japan, but for now, solar looks like the fastest way to add more power to the national grid,” TIME‘s Lucy Birmingham wrote.
At the 2-day G8 Summit in Deauville, France at the end of this week, Prime Minister Naoto Kan is expected to unveil a renewable energy and energy conservation plan that is said to include an unprecedented requirement to have all new buildings come with solar panels by 2030. Stunning. And, of course, well-liked by me, greens, and other clean energy enthusiasts around the world.
I can imagine the U.S. “don’t step on my freedom” people now. But guess what, we have countless safety requirements for new buildings all around the country and if you look at this with a little bit of perspective, that’s what such a requirement is.
From global warming to energy independence and security, we need clean, renewable energy installed fast and we need leading policies like this to make it happen. Of course, I can’t imagine the U.S. ever passing such a policy, but it’s nice to see that another leading democracy is looking to do so.
Kan said a couple weeks ago that Japan needed to “start from scratch” and create an entirely new energy policy. Approximately one month ago, he said that taking the Fukushima nuclear disaster as a lesson, the country would “lead the world in clean energy such as solar and biomass, as we take a step toward resurrection.” This bold new plan to put solar panels on every new building is a good step in that direction.
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Photo via CoCreatr
I'm the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular clean energy website in the world, and Planetsave, a leading green and science news site. I've been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and I've been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, bicycling, and wind energy for the past few years. You can also find my work on Scientific American, Reuters, Think Progress, GE's ecomagination site, several sites in the Important Media network, & many other places. To connect on some of your favorite social networks, go to zacharyshahan.com or click on some of the links below.