Chisaki Watanabe

For Chisaki Watanabe's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:

Clean energy boom challenges power grid

Oct 2, 2014

Clean energy boom challenges power grid

Four regional utilities stopped signing contracts to buy renewable energy from big solar power plants and other suppliers starting Wednesday, limiting an influx that is testing the nation’s electricity grid. The decision by the utilities serving Shikoku, Hokkaido, Tohoku and Okinawa, and a similar ...

Jul 7, 2014

Electricity gold rush heralds end for monopolies

Watami Co., a restaurant chain known best as a hangout for salarymen, is getting into the business of selling power — and it isn’t alone. The number of companies registered to sell electricity in Japan has more than doubled to 274 from 106 last ...

Renewables get raked over coals under Abe

| Apr 14, 2014

Renewables get raked over coals under Abe

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is pushing the coal industry to expand sales at home and abroad, undermining hopes among environmentalists that he’d use the Fukushima nuclear disaster to switch the nation to renewables. A new energy plan approved by the Cabinet on Friday designates ...

Feb 14, 2014

Wind lobby raps environment reports

Japan’s effort to obtain more power from wind turbines is being held up by requirements that force developers to conduct environmental impact assessments, undermining government support for the industry, according to a lobby group. The rules requiring the assessments for wind developers took effect ...

Can a battery jolt economy?

Aug 7, 2013

Can a battery jolt economy?

In a windy town in Hokkaido, an experiment is about to begin with a battery designed to transform the way electricity is supplied and at the same time boost Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s economic rescue plan. The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry is ...

Abe plan lifts renewables at utilities' expense

Jun 7, 2013

Abe plan lifts renewables at utilities' expense

Shinzo Abe’s pledge to spur ¥30 trillion of investment in Japan’s electricity industry opens the way for a surge in clean energy projects at the expense of traditional utilities. The prime minister endorsed proposals to deregulate an industry that produces power mostly from fossil ...

Apr 4, 2013

Marubeni taps geothermal power as nuclear alternative

Marubeni Corp. is working on how to jump-start the geothermal industry and tap the heat that powers volcanoes as an alternative to nuclear reactors. The biggest investor in electricity generation among Japan’s trading houses hopes to draw pools of underground heat with potentially twice ...

Mar 6, 2013

Hitachi Zosen, Statoil partner up on floating offshore wind technology

Industrial machinery maker Hitachi Zosen Corp. wants to use its partnership with Statoil ASA to bring technology for floating offshore wind turbines to the Japanese market more quickly. Hitachi Zosen in November signed a technical cooperation accord with Statoil, Norway’s oil and gas producer. ...