Japan posts top growth in clean energy

Apr 03, 2014
A large-scale solar power plant in Kyoto is pictured on July 1, 2012

Japan last year stepped up spending on clean energy at a faster rate than any other country, despite a drop in the world's overall investment, a study said Thursday.

China remained the top investor in clean energy in 2013 but steep cutbacks in the European Union contributed to an 11 percent drop in global investment in the sector, the second straight year it has fallen, according to an annual survey by the Pew Charitable Trusts.

Japan was a major exception to the trend, ramping up investment in clean energy by 80 percent year-on-year to $28.6 billion—nearly all in solar energy.

Japan, which has virtually no , has been looking to diversify its energy sources after the Fukushima nuclear reactor disaster during the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

Japan ranked third in investment behind the United States and China, which was by far the largest with $54.2 billion put into in 2013, down slightly from the year before.

China has set ambitious goals on wind and as concern grows over the growing Asian power's air quality and .

China remains the world's top producer of greenhouse gases blamed for climate change. It has promised to reduce the intensity of emissions but not the absolute number.

The European Union, long at the forefront of efforts to fight climate change, saw steep falls amid austerity measures and questions over future incentives.

Investment tumbled 55 percent in Germany, 42 percent in France, 75 percent in Italy and 84 percent in Spain.

Britain was an exception, with investment growing 13 percent to $12.4 billion with more than half of it in wind energy.

Explore further: CO2 emissions 'increased at slower rate in 2012'

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

US grabs lead over China in clean energy race

Apr 12, 2012

The United States has regained the lead in the clean energy race, investing $48 billion last year to surpass China, which held the world's top spending spot since 2009, said a study Wednesday.

CO2 emissions 'increased at slower rate in 2012'

Oct 31, 2013

The world's carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions increased at a slower rate in 2012—1.1 percent compared to a 2.9 percent annual increase over the past decade, a report said Thursday.

Three more reasons for clean energy

Apr 08, 2011

We've heard again and again that concerns about the environment, public health and national security are reasons to develop policies that encourage clean energy investment - and we've also heard vigorous debate on these ...

Recommended for you

Storing solar energy

6 hours ago

A research project conducted by Leclanché S.A., the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL), Romande Energie and with the financial support of the Canton of Vaud could bring a real added value in ...

Scientists get set for simulated nuclear inspection

10 hours ago

Some 40 scientists and technicians from around the world will descend on Jordan in November to take part in a simulated on-site inspection of a suspected nuclear test site on the banks of the Dead Sea.

User comments : 9

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

MR166
1 / 5 (1) Apr 03, 2014
I just love it!!! Japan is just a few small steps away from a total economic collapse and yet they are leaders in clean energy AKA CO2 abatement. Will the stupidity ever end?
Vietvet
3 / 5 (4) Apr 03, 2014
@MR166
Your stupidity has no end, that's for sure.
MR166
1 / 5 (1) Apr 03, 2014
Vet you do not have the slightest idea of how tenuous the financial situation is in the western world. Europe, Japan and the US are all running on printed or other peoples money. This will not end in a favorable outcome.

Again, there is no money available for programs that do not make economic and financial sense.
Vietvet
1 / 5 (2) Apr 04, 2014
@MR166
I have to to give you credit for consistency. Every time you make a statement you're talking through your ass.
hangman04
5 / 5 (2) Apr 04, 2014
well... what other solution do they have? they are afraid of nuclear and with some good reasons...., they don't have fossils and i am not sure if they have an active infrastructure to import massively from neighbours (like EU has those pipelines from Russia for example, but well no one ones to be in the Russian pocket nowadays, liquified gas is very expensive to transport, their other close neighbours are also net cosumers and not producers), so yes, they invest on smth that may pay in the future....
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (1) Apr 04, 2014
well... what other solution do they have?

In addition to solar: Wind. Waves. Japan is almost all coast. There should be plenty of that type of energy around for the taking.

(Also geothermal, as Japan is sitting more or less on a fault line. But that tends to facilitate Earthquakes - something Japan already has quite enough of)

Of all the industrialized countries Japan is best suited to go fully renewable.
hangman04
not rated yet Apr 04, 2014
yes, i was referring to green, by that rhetorical. Crossed my mind on waves and wind, but probably they are afraid of a potential tsunami which will be likely to hit coast regions exactly where this type of infrastructure would be developed. By the way i haven't seen any articles on solar platforms on water, instead of using the land resource... ? is it feasible? :/
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (1) Apr 04, 2014
which will be likely to hit coast regions exactly where this type of infrastructure would be developed.

Wind and wave can be sited off shore. Tsunamis only grow large when they get close to shore (out at sea they are not much more than a largish swelling of the water. That's why Tsunami means 'harbor wave').

solar platforms on water

There's stuff like this:
http://save-as.or...ors_2243

India is currently installing a (very small) prototype floating power plan. Though it is envisioned mostly for landlocked areas like reservoirs.
dvdrushton
5 / 5 (1) Apr 06, 2014
MR166 points out that there is a great deal of global economic uncertainty today. One of the cornerstones of a modern economy is reliable energy. Fossil fuels present a number of problems for many economies. As pointed out by hangman - Japan is in a very precarious position in this regard. So - transitioning off of a polluting, finite, expensive source of energy - that you have to buy from someone else - to an infinite, clean,cheap, home grown source of energy - makes a bucket load of sense to me. Good job MR166 is not running our world. Surely Europe's (and perhaps more significantly Ukraine's) dependance on Russia as a fuel source is a lesson we should currently be learning.