Japan wind energy to drop 68% as subsidies halted

Japan  will add 33 turbines generating 82 megawatts of wind power for the year ending March, according to an estimate by the Japan Wind Power Association. For the year ended March 2011, Japan installed only 256 megawatts.

Japan stopped direct subsidies in 2010 that paid for a third of the cost of wind energy projects as the country planned a shift to an incentive payment program. The preferential tariffs, due to start in July, have yet to be set and that may have contributed to the decline.

Japan is targeting an increase in renewable energy generation as most of the country’s atomic reactors are shut for checks following the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl last March. Before the accident, nuclear power provided about 30 percent of Japan’s electricity supply.

The country’s cumulative wind power capacity may reach 2,600 megawatts by March 2014 from the current 2,522 megawatts, the association said, urging the government to make an early decision on the tariffs and wind power generation targets.

Despite eliminating subsidies Japan has considered since the quake and tsunami that struck the country last March the need to switch from nuclear power sources toward renewable sources, like wind energy, solar power or geothermal energy.