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Asia Report: 200-MW Solar Project Planned in Japan

As Japan awaits the price structure that will be set in July when the government announces its feed-in tariff prices, one company in particular is moving ahead quickly as a large-scale solar market emerges.

Softbank, which has spearheaded much of the drive toward renewable energy post-Fukushima, is now planning a 200-megawatt project in the Hokkaido region in northern Japan. The size of the project would make it Japan’s largest solar project to date as the country continues its push away from nuclear power. Currently, a 13-MW plant in Kawasaki is the largest installed facility.

According to the Japan Times, Softbank and Hokkaido Electric will come to terms over the deal once the government sets its rates. If the price is below 40 yen per kwh — considered by some the amount needed to generate a decent profit — the company may look to cut down the size of the plant.


IN THE NEWS

China to Regulate Management of Green Power Subsidies: The ministry said in a circular posted Thursday on its website that the plan aims to promote utilization of renewable energy, regulate the management of the subsidy fund and raise the efficiency of fund usage.

Massive Hydro Investment Sought: The Nepalese government has invited Chinese hydropower companies to invest in power projects worth up to $400 billon.

Mongolia Windfall: Coal production continues to rise in Mongolia amid the ongoing development of large mining projects aimed at increasing regional demand, yet the energy sector also began exploring greener alternatives. In late February, construction started on the country’s first wind farm. The Salkhit Project is expected to deliver 168.5m KWh of electricity. Salkhit will be a joint project between Mongolian investment firm Newcom Group and US-based General Electric.

One Company’s Approach: Even as China gobbles up a growing share of the global solar market, at least one American company is looking to tap into that growth by making the machines that make the panels.


LOOKING AHEAD

Worries Over Bankruptcies: Asia-based solar firms have been concerned about decreasing distribution channels in Germany as many Germany-based firms have filed for bankruptcy. Industry sources believe the government in Germany will introduce more drastic incentive cuts as impacts to Germany's domestic solar industry lessen with fewer existing firms.

Looking to Geothermal in Japan: To boost its own energy production, Japan is looking deep underground at its own geothermal potential while enlisting the help of nations that have successfully tapped into that resource.

Rough Road Ahead for China Wind Market: China's wind farm market bubble will deflate as the industry enters the worst year in its history, said the Spanish wind power maker Gamesa, Xinhua News Agency reported.

Japan’s Offshore Future: Japan is preparing to bolt turbines onto barges and build the world’s largest commercial power plant using floating windmills in a 16-megawatt pilot plant off the coast of Fukushima. The project may be expanded to 1,000 megawatts, bigger than any wind farm fixed to the seabed or on land.


QUOTE OF THE WEEK

Geothermal in Asia

“Globally, we will see a continued shift toward Asia. We expect over 50 percent of geothermal investment in that region, thanks to the number of late-stage projects, high- grade resources and increasing policy support.”
Stefan Linder, analyst with London-based New Energy Finance


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IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

March 26-April 2, 2012 Asia Report: India Slashes Wind Incentive
March 19-26, 2012 Asia Report: India’s Wind Potential 30 Times Greater Than Believed
March 5-12, 2012 Asia Report: After Quake, Japan Pushes for Asia Supergrid
Feb. 27-March 5, 2012 Asia Report: Decision on Trade Dispute Looming
Feb. 20-27, 2012 Asia Report: China Launches Renewable Energy Think Tank
Feb 6-13, 2012 Asia Report: India Sees 52 Percent Rise in Investments
Jan. 23-30, 2012 Asia Report: DOC Extends Solar Trade Case Deadline
Jan. 16-23, 2012 Asia Report: China Has Strong Words Over U.S. Wind Investigation
Jan. 9-16, 2012 Asia Report: China, South Korea Leaders at World Energy Summit
Jan. 2-9, 2012 Asia Report: SolarWorld Plans to File European Complaint

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