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JCP Ichida calls for a renewable energy buyback system


Japanese Communist Party Secretariat Head Ichida Tadayoshi called on the government to introduce a utility-buy-back system to encourage power companies to buy back available excess electricity at reasonable rates.


Speaking at a House of Councilors Committee on Environment meeting on June 3, Ichida pointed out that the use of solar and other renewable energy sources is not commonplace in Japan despite Japanfs technological edge in solar power generation. gJapan produces about 40 percent of the worldfs photovoltaic systems, including solar panels.h


In Japan, the use of solar panels for houses has declined in number from a peak in 2005, and about 77 percent of the total shipment of photovoltaic solar cells was for exports in 2007.


In fact, builders or owners of houses have been reluctant to buy expensive solar roof panels since the government stopped subsidizing PV systems for homes in 2005.


Ichida also criticized the government for failing to take any effective measures to promote the utilization of renewable energy sources.


He reminded the government that Japanfs target for renewable energy systems in power generation in 2014 is only 1.6 percent, which is falling way behind other major industrialized countries.


Germanyfs target for renewable energy sources is 27 percent of power generation by 2020, and the United States is preparing legislation that makes it mandatory to generate at least 15 percent of electricity from renewable energy sources, Ichida said.


He called on the government to require utility companies to substantially increase their buyback programs and to make efforts to improve programs to support the introduction of residential solar electric power systems.


Environment Minister Kamoshita Ichiro responded by saying, gI believe we should put more emphasis on the utilization of renewable energy sources.h

- Akahata, June 4, 2008


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