Current Institutional Affiliation
Writer | Media Expert | Clean Energy Specialist

Award Information

Abe Fellowship for Journalists 2015
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Reporter, News, The Wall Street Journal
Development of renewable energy and storage in Japan

Japan has established strong renewable-energy policies to fight climate change, develop local sources of energy, reduce energy imports, and help create new industries and jobs. Renewable energy has also become more popular in Japan following the 2011 earthquake and Fukushima disaster, as a home-grown alternative to nuclear power. Government support for renewable energy, particularly solar power, has led to a fast build-out of solar-panel generation since 2011. In some parts of the country, however, large amounts of intermittent sun power strained the grid and some utilities said their systems had reached the limit in the amount of on-again, off-again solar power they could handle. Now, utilities such as Kyushu Electric Power Co. and Tohoku Electric Power Co. are experimenting with large batteries that can store electricity generated by panels during the day and release the power at night or the morning, when it is needed. Japanese battery manufacturers such as Panasonic and Toshiba are supplying new batteries to energy-storage projects in Japan and the U.S., while Nissan Motor Co. is experimenting with recycling batteries from used electric cars and using them as battery packs for solar farms. Nissan and Sumitomo installed recycled electric-car batteries at Yume-shima Island in Osaka prefecture. Nissan plans to work with U.S. company Green Charge Networks to build similar projects in the U.S. The research and article will look at Japan's development of solar and energy-storage and its potential as a model for the U.S. and other countries, through interviews and visits to Yume-shima Island and other energy storage facilities in Japan.