Methane hydrate gets budgetary OK

JIJI

The Abe administration plans to boost spending on the development of undersea methane hydrate, a potential next-generation energy source, as well as on renewable energy projects in fiscal 2014.

In its draft budget adopted Tuesday, the administration set aside ¥12.7 billion for methane hydrate development, an increase of about 1.5-fold from the initial budget for this year.

The money will be used to analyze data from methane hydrate tests conducted in the Pacific off Aichi Prefecture this year and for planned surveys in the Sea of Japan off Niigata and Ishikawa.

It is hoped that offshore methane hydrate deposits can provide a domestic source of natural gas, easing the need for imports and reliance on nuclear power.

The administration also allocated ¥4 billion for wind power output forecast systems, ¥4.9 billion for offshore wind farm tests and ¥2.9 billion for geothermal energy development.

The total amount of subsidies for companies introducing energy-efficient equipment will be raised by 20 percent to ¥96.8 billion.