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再生エネ法―送電線の接続を透明に

2011/09/09
--The Asahi Shimbun, Sept. 5
EDITORIAL: Transparency in access to the grid crucial for promotion of renewable energy.
再生エネ法―送電線の接続を透明に

The Diet enacted a law to expand the use of renewable energy sources during this year's regular session, which ran through August.
 自然エネルギーの拡大をめざす再生可能エネルギー特別措置法が先の通常国会で成立した。

The law contains a so-called feed-in tariff system that requires electric power companies to buy electricity generated by using renewable energy sources--wind, solar, biomass, the heat of the Earth and small-scale water power--at fixed prices for specific periods.
 風力、太陽光、バイオマス、地熱、小型の水力による電気を一定の期間、電力会社が固定価格で買い取る制度だ。

In Europe, this system has helped to sharply increase the use of renewable energy.
 欧州では、この制度で自然エネルギーを大幅に増やした。

The success of the feed-in tariff system in Japan hinges on how it will be actually operated.
日本での成功の可否は、今後の運用にかかっている。

The law says the prices at which utilities buy renewable power should be determined in a way that ensures reasonable profits for power producers.
 法律は、買い取り価格について、参入者の適正な利潤を考慮して決めることを明記した。

That means renewable electricity will be bought at various price levels, depending on the kind of energy source and the method of power generation involved.
自然エネルギーの種類や方式によって違う値段になる。

This is a reasonable approach.
この点は評価したい。

It makes sense to set prices at levels that make renewable power businesses economically viable.
ビジネスが成り立つ価格にすることが必要だ。

The costs of buying clean power will be passed onto consumers through higher electricity bills.
 買い取り費用は電気料金に上乗せされる。

The law doesn't lay down any rules concerning the expected rate increases. But the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, which regulates the power industry, has said the rate hikes will be capped at 0.5 yen per kilowatt-hour.
法律に上げ幅の規定はないが、経済産業省は「1キロワット時0.5円を上限で運用する」といってきた。

There should be no such rigid limits on rate increases to buy renewable power.
 これはやめるべきだ。

Power rates actually fluctuate more sharply due to factors like changes in oil prices.
電気料金は、原油価格などによって、もっと大きく変動している。

Placing too strict restrictions on the scope of hikes in electricity bills would hamper efforts to popularize the feed-in tariff system.
自然エネルギーを対象に料金転嫁に歯止めをかけすぎると、うまく導入が進まない。

The biggest issue is setting up a connection to the power grid.
 最大の問題は、送電線への接続だ。

While utilities are in principle obliged to allow renewable electricity to be fed into the grid, they are permitted to refuse to do so if there is any possibility of disruptions in stable power supply.
電力会社には自然エネルギーの電気を送電線につなぐ義務があるものの、「安定供給に支障がある場合」には接続しなくてもよいとされている。

This rule effectively means the current situation will remain unchanged. In Hokkaido, the Tohoku region and Kyushu, many plans to build wind farms have been dropped because the regional utilities have refused to buy electricity from the planned facilities under the pretext of "unstable supply."
 これでは、北海道や東北、九州で、多くの風力発電所の計画が「供給が不安定」という電力会社の判断で断念させられている現状と変わらない。

Hokkaido Electric Power Co. has said it will not be able to purchase more power from wind, at least for the time being, because it is already buying wind-generated electricity up to the limit of 360 megawatts.
 すでに北海道電力は、風力の受け入れ可能量36万キロワットが満杯なので、新法施行後も当面は新たな受け入れはできないと表明している。

But wind power is the most widely used renewable energy source globally. Both China and the United States generate more than 40 gigawatts of electricity by using wind power.
 風力は世界では自然エネルギーの柱で、中国、米国では4千万キロワットを超える。

In contrast, Japan's wind power output is a puny 2.5 gigawatts.
日本は約250万キロワットしかない。

The outlook for wind power generation in Japan will remain bleak if utilities, citing upper limits, refuse to buy electricity produced with wind despite the small overall output.
それでも電力各社が「もう満杯」というのなら展望は開けない。

In order to inject more transparency into this program, it is necessary to build up a system in which independent experts judge the appropriateness of the ceilings utilities set for their purchases of wind-generated power.
電力会社のいう受け入れ可能量を外部の人間がチェックして透明化する態勢が必要だ。

The most crucial aspect for the success of the new system, however, is to establish integrated operations of the transmission networks of utilities.
 何より送電線の広域運用が欠かせない。

In Japan, electric power companies that enjoy a monopoly on regional power markets operate separate transmission networks independently. Basically, utilities in principle don't supply electricity to other utilities, even if their service areas are adjacent.
日本の送電網は、地域独占の電力会社ごとに分割され、隣接する会社同士でも基本的に電気を融通しない。

This tradition should be changed so that the power grids are operated in an integrated way that allows electricity generated with renewable energy sources in rural areas to be sent to large markets like Tokyo and the Kansai region. That would ensure enough demand for clean power and help avert a situation where a utility's capacity to buy such electricity reaches its limit.
 これを改め、地域に偏在する自然エネルギー電力を東京や関西の大消費地に送るように送電網の運用を変えれば、供給に見合う需要が確保され、電力会社が「もう満杯」という事態は避けられる。

Renewable energy accounts for only 1 percent of Japan's overall power production.
 日本の電力に占める自然エネルギーは1%だ。

The new legislation should be used to raise the low status of renewable energy in this country while promoting efforts to reduce nuclear power generation, reform the power supply system and develop next-generation storage battery technology.
新法をテコに、原発の削減や電力体制の改革、蓄電池などの研究開発も進めながら、「自然エネルギー後進国」から早く脱却しよう。
[PR]

by kiyoshimat | 2011-09-10 04:21 | 英字新聞

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