If you have been following clean energy news from Japan, you know the aggressive goals the country has. The government has been spurring renewable energy growth with an alluring feed-in tariff and apparently it has been working. Japan has added just over 1 GW of solar to its previous total of 4.8 GW (in the course of just 9 months). Some might say the amount added is not hugely impressive for such a technologically advanced country, but it’s important to note that they did it in just about nine months.
The immediate goal is to replace electricity output lost when Fukushima’s nuclear capacity went down. Japan intends to move away from all nuclear at some point, so these early successes with clean energy installations are critically important to its overall effort to transition towards a clean energy future.
The notion of learned helplessness from the study of psychology describes utter surrender or apathy that results from situations where there is random suffering, and no clear way to learn to avoid the pain. These early victories are a counterpoint to the initial panic and terror of the Fukushima disaster, and help shift the skepticism and pessimism to optimism and better choices.
Many more gigawatts of renewable energy in the form of solar, wind, and biomass are likely to be developed in Japan soon. It isn’t only solar, wind, and biomass that have viable potential in Japan, though. Geothermal resources have been said to be so strong there that, if developed properly, they could provide enough electricity to replace many nuclear power plants.
Though Fukushima seems like something of a distant memory in news terms, fishermen in the local area still can’t go back to work in their normal fashion. Too much of their catch is still contaminated with radiation. The fishermen now survive on government support and can’t do their work, so they can’t take care of themselves in the manner they are accustomed.
Overall, it appears the Japanese government has rebounded from the incident and is strongly headed towards a better, cleaner energy future.