Land of the Rising Sun
As the sun shines on a beautiful May morning here in the Cotswolds, it’s hard to imagine how anyone could reasonably argue that solar energy will not play an increasingly important part in our future energy make up. Yet doubters still persist with the view that solar energy is a niche bit of greenwashing and incompatible with the energy needs of a developed, industrialised country.
The cynics might be wise to have a look at energy development in Japan. Minds focused by the devastating nuclear accident at Fukishima, Japanese energy policy started a shift to solar energy. The transition has been so successful that as well as shutting down the nation’s 43 nuclear reactors, 2.4GW of oil fired generating capacity will be closed by March 2016. This isn’t just environmental righteousness; electricity generated from imported oil is simply not competitive with solar. Over 20GW of solar capacity has been installed in the last four years and the development pipeline is huge. The unit generating cost is equivalent to the average household price per unit of around 16p.
Japan and Britain aren’t dissimilar; Industrialised nations with small and dwindling domestic hydrocarbon reserves, small land mass relative to the large populations and disinclined to advance nuclear for reasons of safety (Japan) and cost (UK).
A nation which owns and controls its own energy and isn’t dependent on imported fuel is a safer, more secure and prosperous one.
More detail can be found in this piece in the Bangkok post.