Chisaki Watanabe

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

Coal revival ducks scrutiny with small plants, critics say

May 29, 2015

Coal revival ducks scrutiny with small plants, critics say

As the nation burns more coal to replace lost nuclear capacity, power producers are able to duck pollution standards by building coal-fired projects small enough to avoid national regulator scrutiny, critics say. About a third of 45 new power-generation units fueled by coal won’t ...

Reactor closures to test Abe's green energy pledges

Apr 12, 2015

Reactor closures to test Abe's green energy pledges

Japan’s plan to mothball at least five aging nuclear reactors highlights the challenge Prime Minister Shinzo Abe faces as his administration debates how to replace lost electricity generation with power sources that are cheap, clean and safe. The decision announced by the reactors’ operators ...

Marubeni faces ship shortage, grid issues in offshore wind push

Mar 2, 2015

Marubeni faces ship shortage, grid issues in offshore wind push

Marubeni Corp. is planning to develop more than five times the offshore wind power capacity currently installed in Japan as it moves aggressively into a poorly developed area of the country’s renewable energy market. “If you want to do large-scale projects, it’s offshore wind ...

LEDs fuel drive to cut energy use

Mar 2, 2015

LEDs fuel drive to cut energy use

Japan’s push to keep power flowing after it shuttered its nuclear program may best be illustrated by 73 million light bulbs. That’s the number of LED bulbs sold in Japan since the start of 2012, representing about 30 percent of the total. The LEDs, ...

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 ...