Japan approves bill requiring utilities to pay set feed-in tariffs for electricity generated from solar, wind, biomass, geothermal and small hydro power plants for up to 20 years; details, including FIT prices, to be decided next year

LOS ANGELES , August 26, 2011 () – Japan’s upper house of parliament gave its final approval for a bill requiring that utilities pay set feed-in tariffs (FIT) for electricity generated by five renewable energy types for up to 20 years, reported Reuters on Aug. 26.

The rates apply to any amount of electricity from wind, solar, biomass, geothermal and small-sized hydro power plants.

The legislation is intended to encourage the growth of Japan’s capacity for these five types of green energy, by more than 30,000 megawatts over 10 years, and to move the country away from nuclear power.

The national scheme will begin next year, according to lawmakers, Reuters reported.

Key details are still missing from the plan, including the price utilities will pay for each type of renewable power. A panel appointed by parliament is to determine this, but won’t be meeting until next year.

The bill as passed on Tuesday by Japan’s lower house of parliament.

With the final approval of the upper house, Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan confirmed he would step down, reported Reuters.

Kan was criticized for his handling of the earthquake and tsunami in March that led to a nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Dai-ichi power plant, which subsequently swayed public opinion against nuclear power.

The primary source of this article is Reuters, London, England, on Aug. 26, 2011.

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