Japan sun subsidy fires electric spending rush

By Reuters:

Government expects up to $640 billion investment by 2030

* More than 30,000 households, companies sign up for subsidies

* Japan phasing out nuclear after Fukushima disaster

By Risa Maeda

TOKYO, Sept 12 (Reuters) – Japan’s subsidies for renewable power suppliers have sparked more than $2 billion of investment since they were launched two months ago, as companies and homeowners try to profit from an anti-nuclear energy policy after last year’s Fukushima crisis.

That money, the government believes, is only a tiny fraction of what could be a $640 billion spending boom by 2030 as Japan tries to phase out nuclear energy.

Nuclear reactors supplied about 30 percent of its electricity before Fukushima, but in response to a public backlash, Japan is set to soon announce an overall energy policy which may ultimately mean a total shutdown of atomic capacity.

Renewables – solar, wind, geothermal, biomass and water power – will be called upon to make up part of that shortfall.

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