Japan plans to speed up the process of environmental impact assessments for wind farms and ease regulations for solar power plants as it prepares to start a feed-in tariff program in July.
The Cabinet Office today unveiled a set of measures and policies to promote renewable energy and energy saving and reform the country’s power distribution systems.
The move comes as Japan seeks to diversify its energy mix following the devastating nuclear accident a year ago at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi plant.
Starting in October, wind farm developers will be required to conduct environmental surveys before starting construction. The trade ministry plans to shorten the maximum time for deliberation for each of three steps to 30 days from as many as 270 days, according to a Cabinet Office report mapping out the measures and policies.
The trade ministry will also review if solar plants should be exempted from the Factory Location Act, which requires operators to plant trees and plants at least for 25 percent of a total site, the report said. The ministry plans to reach conclusion before July.
The report included measures that have been recently implemented, such as expanding areas where geothermal developers may conduct surveys and build geothermal plants inside national parks, where more than 80 percent of the country’s resources exist. Some of the measures still need cabinet approval.
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