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 ...

Farmers find a new cash crop in solar power field

May 29, 2014

Farmers find a new cash crop in solar power field

The campaign to boost renewable power supplies since the Fukushima nuclear disaster is producing some unlikely winners: vegetable farmers. Makoto Takazawa and his father Yukio earned ¥1.7 million last fiscal year selling electricity from solar panels that hang in a giant canopy above their ...

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 ...

World 'ill-prepared to face climate risks'

Apr 5, 2014

World 'ill-prepared to face climate risks'

Global warming is depleting fresh water and crops, destroying coral reefs and melting the Arctic, the United Nations said Monday in a report that concludes the world is ill-prepared to face many new threats. Climate change has brought “key risks” that endanger lives and ...

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 ...