自然エネルギー―普及急ぎ新しい社会へ

--The Asahi Shimbun, July 4
EDITORIAL: Feed-in tariff system offers opportunities
自然エネルギー―普及急ぎ新しい社会へ

A feed-in tariff system that requires utilities to purchase electricity generated with renewable energy sources like solar and wind power at fixed rates took effect July 1.
 太陽光や風力など自然エネルギーによる電力を、電力会社が買い取る制度が始まった。

Renewable energy sources other than hydropower account for only 1 percent of Japan's overall power generation.
 日本の自然エネルギー発電量は、水力を除くと、全体の1%でしかない。

Increased use of these clean energy sources will not only reduce the nation's greenhouse gas emissions but help lessen the nation's dependence on nuclear power generation.
As an added benefit, there will be no need to import raw materials for electricity production.
資源を輸入に頼らず、温暖化防止にもなる電源は、脱原発依存を進めるうえでも重要だ。

The tariff system should be used wisely to expand the use of renewable energy.
新制度をテコに普及を急ぎたい。

The rates at which utilities buy power from renewable energy will be reviewed annually. But rates, once determined for specific sellers, are guaranteed for 10 to 20 years.
 買い取り価格は電源ごとに毎年見直されるが、一度決まれば10~20年保証される。

For the first year of the system, the rates have been set at a relatively high level: around 42 yen per kilowatt-hour of solar power.
初年度は1キロワット時42円の太陽光など全体的に高めの設定だ。

There are some who say the rates are too high.
 高すぎるとの声はある。

The policy was deliberate. The only way to encourage businesses to enter the market is to ensure that they will be able to make a decent profit.
ただ参入企業を増やすには、一定の利益が確保できるようにしなければならない。

Given that Japan trailed other industrialized nations in introducing feed-in tariffs, setting attractive rates makes certain sense.
日本の取り組みの遅れを考えれば、やむをえない面がある。

In recent months, companies have been clamoring to enter the business. During the current fiscal year, Japan's total renewable power capacity is expected to increase by 2.5 gigawatts.
 実際、ここにきて事業者の参入が相次いでいる。今年度中に250万キロワット分の発電設備が増える見通しだ。

Clearly, the rates at which utilities buy power under the system should be determined with great care since costs will be passed on to consumers.
 もちろん、細心の注意を払う必要がある。買い取りコストは消費者が負担するからだ。

Electricity rates charged to households nationwide will be raised by a flat monthly amount of 0.22 yen per kilowatt-hour. A family with an average monthly power bill of 7,000 yen ($87.67) will have to pay about 100 yen more each month.
 料金への上乗せは、全国一律で1キロワット時あたり月0・22円。月7千円の電気代を払っている家庭では、家庭用太陽光の買い取り分も含めて100円前後の負担になる。

The figure incorporates an increase resulting from the purchase of surplus electricity from household solar power generation systems.
Increases will be commensurate with the amount of power generated with renewable energy increases.
発電量が増えるほど上乗せ額も増える。

We don't doubt that many households are willing to put up with a certain level of increase in their electricity bills for expanding the use of renewable energy sources if it means reducing the nation's dependence on nuclear power generation.
 原発を利用せずにすむなら、多少高くても自然エネルギーを選ぶという消費者も少なくないだろう。

But if rates remain at levels that pose an unreasonable burden on consumers, the system will eventually become unsustainable.
だが、買い取り価格が必要以上に高止まりし、消費者の負担感がつのれば、制度自体が行き詰まる。

Even in Europe, which has been leading the world in feed-in tariffs, the system is still very much a trial-and-error process.
 先行する欧州も、この点では試行錯誤だ。

The government should heed the experiences of countries that introduced the system earlier.
政府は先行例から学びつつ、

Flexibility in purchase prices will be key as renewable power generation grows and costs drop due to technological advances.
普及の度合いや技術革新による発電コストの低減などを見て、柔軟に価格を見直していく必要がある。

The capacity of transmission lines and power distribution facilities will also have to be expanded.
 自然エネルギーの普及には、送電線と配電設備の増強や

At the same time, the government will need to implement an expanded power distribution system so that electricity can be delivered to areas serviced by other utilities.
広域運用も不可欠だ。

The Tohoku region and Hokkaido are especially suited to wind power generation. The volume of electricity generated with wind power that is to be purchased under the new system is rapidly approaching a ceiling. This is because transmission networks in those regions have only a limited capacity.
 風力の適地である東北や北海道では、送電網の限界から風力発電の買い取り枠が埋まりつつある。

The situation effectively undermines efforts to make full use of the renewable energy sources available.
これでは、せっかくの潜在資源を生かし切れない。

Enhancing electric power infrastructure requires huge investment.
 設備の増強には多額の費用がかかる。

The public and private sectors must work together to stimulate the aggressive investment needed to construct a more powerful grid. This will become a huge public asset.
送電網の広域運用につながる電力改革を進めるとともに、積極的な投資を促す仕組みを官民で考え、公共財としての送電網整備を急がなければならない。

A renewable power generation business can be started with a relatively small amount of capital.
 自然エネルギーは比較的少ない資本で取り組める。

This could lead to community-based enterprises in which investors fund wind-power facilities or citizen power plants operated by associations. The system will also spawn new businesses. Renting roofs for solar power generation comes to mind.
基金を設立して風車などを共有したり、組合組織による「市民発電所」を運営したりと、地域単位での工夫も可能だ。「屋根貸し」などのビジネスも生む。

The feed-in tariff system should be used in a way that helps build a new energy future for Japan.
 制度をうまく活用し、新しいエネルギー社会を築こう。
[PR]

by kiyoshimat | 2012-07-07 08:34 | 英字新聞

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