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Japan’s Nuclear Revival Threatens Renewable Energy Subsidies

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Reuters

TOKYO, Aug 29 (Reuters) – Kyushu Electric Power Co may start restricting third-party supplies of solar energy after it restarts a fourth nuclear reactor, the company said on Wednesday, underscoring the risks to a government push to boost renewable energy.

 

Japan’s fifth-biggest utility by sales plans to restart the No. 2 reactor at its Sendai station later on Wednesday, giving Kyushu the most nuclear generation since the 2011 Fukushima disaster led to the shutdown of Japan’s atomic power sector.

The Fukushima disaster prompted a shift in Japan toward renewable energy, backed by mandatory preferential rates for solar, wind and other supplies.

Introduced in 2012, the preferential rates, known as feed-in-tariffs, were at the time among the highest in the world, sparking a rush of investments by startups and other companies.

Only one of Japan’s other nine nuclear operators, Kansai Electric Power Co, the country’s second-biggest utility by sales, so far has reactors running.

However, the slow return of nuclear, which once accounted for 30 percent of Japan’s electricity generation, is now threatening the once-guaranteed income for operators of renewables.

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