Japan is in a position to increase production of “green electricity” as it works to meet greenhouse gas reduction targets set at an international conference in Kyoto last December while also liberalizing its electricity industry, agreed experts at a symposium in Tokyo on Monday.

Speaking at a World Wide Fund for Nature symposium, speakers from Europe and the United States illuminated ways that so-called green electricity — electricity generated from renewable energy resources — has gained acceptance in their home countries.

They also discussed various challenges Japan may face as it approaches this new form of electricity. “The idea of environmentally beneficial electricity — or green power — is a relatively new concept,” said Karl Rabago of Planergy, a Texas-based U.S. company that educates and helps corporations market green electricity.

The U.S. already has 40 programs allowing consumers to choose to use green electricity, and organizations are being set up to establish the legitimacy of companies selling this form of electricity, Rabago said.

In Germany, legislation established in 1991 obligating electricity companies to sell a certain amount of green electricity has resulted in major increases in wind- and solar-generated electrical power, said Stephen Singer, director of the WWF’s Climate Protection and Energy Policy Department in Germany.

Similarly, in the Netherlands “almost any client can opt for green electricity,” said Annemarie Doedmakers, a director at NUON, one of the country’s largest utility companies.

More than 75 percent of Japan’s energy-related research and development money goes to nuclear projects, while only 3 percent is allotted to renewables, according to the WWF.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.