The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry will consider lowering feed-in-tariff (FIT) rates for wind power. The government requires utilities to pay 22 yen per kilowatt-hour electricity for 20 years, but it will cut the rate by one to two yen for the first time starting from fiscal 2017 to reduce the payment burden on households. Following a cut in the FIT rates for solar power, it will also review preferential treatments awarded to utilities for wind power purchase.
The matter will be discussed at an experts’ panel meeting on the FIT program within METI this autumn. A new rate will be set within the year.
Since fiscal 2012, METI has required major utilities to buy electricity generated from solar, wind, geothermal, small-scale hydroelectric power and biomass at higher rates to promote the use of renewables.
Utilities are required to pay 22 yen per kilowatt-hour electricity generated from wind power plants that have output capacities of at least 20 kilowatts for 20 years. The government plans to cut this rate by one to two yen for new wind power purchase starting next fiscal year, with an eye on lowering it by 20% from the present level to 17-18 yen within several years. This will be the second rate cut in the FIT scheme following solar power. (Abridged)