Clean energy rates may get boost


Japan may announce preferential price rates this month for electricity generated from renewable energy in a program that will start in July to encourage investment in plants driven by nonfossil fuels.

A five-person panel has been discussing the preferential rates, known as feed-in tariffs, since March 6 and will hold its sixth meeting Wednesday.

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry hopes to receive the recommended rates by Friday, which will then need government approval, Keisuke Murakami, who heads clean energy programs at the ministry, said Monday.

The feed-in tariff guarantees above-market rates for solar, wind, geothermal, biomass and hydroelectric power. The Japan Photovoltaic Energy Association proposed ¥42 per kwh for 20 years for solar power. For wind, the Japan Wind Power Association suggested ¥25 per kwh for the same period.

Murakami said no decision had been made about rates for solar power in response to a Nikkei newspaper report Monday that said it will be ¥42 per kwh for about 20 years. The newspaper didn’t state the source of its information.