May 10 2011
Japans Energy Crisis leaves future in question.
In recent months since the devastating earthquake Japan has been struggling to make up for their lost nuclear reactors. Japan had an ambitious goal of having over 78 reactors by 2030 at the latest. If Japan were able to complete all of these reactors nuclear energy would be supplying 50% of the countries energy. Clearly these plans have been halted due to the recent earthquakes and Japan needs to find a clear solution to make up for this loss.
Some feel that this loss gives the country the opportunity to become a world leader in clean energy sources. Japan has the chance to increase their dependence on geothermal, wind, and solar energy. Masayoshi Son, president and founder of Softbank and Japans riches man said he would give 12 million dollars to research foundations to explore these opportunities. He said continued reliance on nuclear energy would, “be a sin against out children, grandchildren, and future generations” Though many are for the development of nuclear energy some feel that is will be way to expensive in the tight economic times. Clean energy would cost up to 30.5 Yen per kilowatt as opposed to fossil fuels, which are closer to 9 Yen.
Japans dependence on nuclear power comes from its energy insecurity it has been experiencing for years. They produce little to no fossil fuels, which leads them to pursue other energy sources to compensate. Japan is extra sensitive to disruptions in the Middle East because of their dependence on consistent oil prices. In the wake of such an awful disaster Japan needs to get back on its feet and excel in clean energy use. They have the opportunity to innovate and change the clear energy industry if they have the support of the citizens. Last year Japan was the leading installer of solar panels in front of Germany and Spain. If Japan continues along this path they will be able to be confident on their reliance on clean energy.