JAPAN FILLS NUCLEAR GAP WITH FOSSILS - AND SOLAR ENERGY

JAPAN After the Fukushima disaster, Japan has undergone a boom in renewable energy. The gap left behind by nuclear, which provided about a third of the country’s energy needs, has mainly been filled by natural gas and coal, but also by solar power. Forceful energy efficiency measures have also contributed to bridging the nuclear gap.

Since the Fukushima disaster on 11 March 2011, the Japanese energy industry has mainly compensated for the shutdown of all nuclear reactors by using imported fossil fuels such as natural gas and coal. As a result, the country’s CO2-emissions have increased. 
Japan’s greenhouse gas emissions rose in fiscal year 2013 to the equivalent of 1.4 billion tons of carbon dioxide, its worst total since comparable data became available in fiscal year 1990, according to the country’s Environment Ministry. 

Solar power explosion
Before Fukushima, nuclear power had provided about a third of Japan's energy needs. As for renewable enrgy sources , hydro electric generation was roughly 70 TWh in 2011 while other renewable generation was non-existent. A lot has happened in four years, however.

In 2014, the production of renewable energy increased by 10 TWh according to Swedish professor Tomas Kåberger, chairman of the Japan Renewable Energy Foundation..
“It is mainly solar power that has gained momentum,” Kåberger told Swedish magazine Ny Teknik, claiming that solar panels are installed every other minute on Japanese rooftops.
“It is very likely that Japan is the country where solar power increased the most across the globe during 2014.”

Setsuden campaign
In the summer of 2011, a few months after the Fukushima disaster, an energy saving campaign swept over Japan. The media campaign dubbed “setsuden” (energy saving in Japanese), was successful in its primary goal of avoiding black-outs.

But setsuden also led to an established reduced energy consumption among the Japanese.

Restart for nuclear
Resource-poor Japan imports almost all of its oil and natural gas. With all nuclear reactors idled, the costs of such imports weigh heavily on the world's third largest economy.

The government is determined to restart at least some of the reactors despite resistance from the Japanese public.

The plan is beginning with Kyushu Electric's two Sendai reactors, which the government says have cleared post-Fukushima safety standards.

The Sendai reactors are scheduled to be restarted during 2015.

More information
Japan is estimated to have installed over 8GW in 2014
Japan to restart nuclear plants
Japan court battles could delay nuclear restarts further
Japan’s growth in solar power falters
About setsuden in The Guardian

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