The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry will set up a market dedicated to solar power and other forms of renewable energy as early as in 2017 to attract environmentally-conscious consumers who are willing to pay higher prices for clean energy and minimize extra charges for other consumers. The rapid proliferation of solar power has been pushing up the cost of introducing renewable energy. The ministry will review the system of passing along those costs to consumers across-the-board.
METI will set up a panel of experts soon to work out the details by the end of the year. It aims to revise the Electricity Business Act or a METI ordinance as early as next year.
The new market will make it possible to buy and sell the “environmental value” of electricity that is generated via renewable energy or nuclear power and does not emit CO2. Power generators or power grid operators will sell electricity generated from renewable sources, which will be then procured by retailers for sale to end users, such as households and businesses. This will allow consumers to purchase electricity at prices that include the environmental value as well as electricity charges.
Up until now, the cost of introducing renewable energy has been recouped by charging extra to all households and businesses that use electricity. In fiscal 2016, the monthly surcharge imposed on standard households was 675 yen, which is ten times more than in fiscal 2012. (Abridged)