Japan to Pass 'Explosive Growth' Renewable Energy Bill
Solar and wind companies, set your sails for Japan! The country is about to pass a landmark bill into law that will see “explosive growth” in both solar and wind energy investment according to Prime Minister Naoto Kan. The bill is designed to reduce Japan’s dependence on nuclear power, which accounts for roughly 30 percent of the country’s energy generation. Japanese lawmakers are readying to sign the bill into law by the end of August.
The bill has been developed and promoted by Prime Minister Kan himself, and seeks not only to move away from nuclear dependence, but also break the energy monopoly held by the country’s 10 major utilities.
The legislation calls for installed renewable energy capacity to rise by at least 20 percent of the country’s total power by the early 2020s.
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The bill will require utilities to purchase power from outside providers, such as cooperatives and private companies. The rule aims to promote the use of alternative energy sources, which currently only make up 9 percent of Japan’s total electricity supply.
Japan’s Energy Minister will be responsible for setting the prices at which utilities must purchase power from renewable energy generators. Unfortunately, this will likely translate to higher electricity prices for manufacturers, who are still trying to recover from the crippling effects of the earthquake and tsunami.
Prime Minister Kan had been pursuing this kind of legislation prior to the catastrophe that led to the Fukushima reactor meltdown, but with little support. However, the meltdown quickly changed the country’s view of nuclear power, and Kan’s bill has gained immense support since. Kan has noted on various occasions that he would not leave office until the law was enacted. The passage of the bill in the coming weeks may mark the final feather in the cap for the relatively unpopular Prime Minister, allowing him to step down with a sense of accomplishment.
ScottishPower submits plans for UK's largest electrolyser
ScottishPower has submitted a planning application to deliver the UK’s largest electrolyser which will be the key component of a green hydrogen facility located close to its Whitelee windfarm.
Alongside the 20MW electrolyser, the application also includes proposals for a combined solar and battery energy storage scheme - up to 40MW and 50MW respectively - to power the electrolyser. They will be installed about 5km west of Lochgoin Reservoir and next to the existing Whitelee Extension substation.
The submission marks an important step for Green Hydrogen for Scotland, a partnership between ScottishPower, BOC and ITM Power, to create green hydrogen production facilities with clusters of refuelling stations across Scotland.
The proposed green hydrogen project will be engineered and operated by BOC, using wind and solar power produced by ScottishPower Renewables, and the electrolyser will be delivered by ITM Power. The project aims to supply hydrogen to the commercial market before 2023.
Green Hydrogen for Glasgow aims to provide carbon-free transport and clean air for communities across Glasgow as well as helping support industrial hydrogen demand in the region. The city, set to host the United Nations 26th Climate Change Conference, COP26, later this year, aims to become the first net zero city in the UK by 2030.
Barry Carruthers, ScottishPower’s Hydrogen Director, said: “With all eyes set to be on Glasgow later this year as the city hosts the UN’s 26th climate change conference, COP26, it’s fantastic to be making this next important step towards delivering green hydrogen for Glasgow.
“Whitelee keeps breaking barriers, first the UK’s largest onshore windfarm, and soon to be home to the UK’s largest electrolyser. The site has played a vital role in helping the UK to decarbonise and we look forward to delivering another vital form of zero carbon energy generation at the site to help Glasgow and Scotland achieve their net zero goals.”
He added green hydrogen has a vital role to play in Scotland and the wider UK’s journey to Net Zero emissions, providing a sustainable energy source that can provide clean, renewable energy for industries, heavy transport and companies for future decades.
Green hydrogen is a zero carbon energy source which can be used by industries and companies that cannot fully electrify their operations to help them lower their emissions, for example, heavy duty transport like buses and bin lorries.
The technology gets its name from the green power source, normally wind or solar, used to power an electrolyser to split water into its core elements; hydrogen and oxygen gas. The hydrogen can then be stored and transported for use as needed.
The green hydrogen facility at Whitelee, the UK’s largest onshore windfarm, will house a 20MW electrolyser and would be able to produce up to 8 tonnes of green hydrogen per day, roughly equivalent to fuelling over 550 buses to travel from Glasgow to Edinburgh and back again each day.
Graham Cooley, CEO ITM Power, said it marks an exciting milestone based on market development for green hydrogen for the city of Glasgow, that will see the UK’s largest electrolyser deployment to date being realised in Scotland.
Mark Griffin, Hydrogen Market Development Manager for Clean Fuels at BOC said: “The scale of this project demonstrates the growing demand for clean hydrogen and as a member of the Green Hydrogen for Scotland partnership, we’re delighted to bring our hydrogen mobility and refuelling project expertise to help deliver a ground-breaking facility in Glasgow.”
The hydrogen production facility could support Glasgow City Council as well as surrounding local authorities and industries in their ambitions to create a zero emissions vehicle fleet, using only electric and hydrogen-powered vehicles by the end of 2029.
ScottishPower expects a decision on the planning application in autumn.
The UK recently announced a £3 million investment to develop the Tees Valley hydrogen transport hub (click here).