Japan May Spend Trillions of Yen on Batteries, Nomura Says
Japan may need to spend several trillion yen on batteries should it follow through on a plan to triple photovoltaic capacity by 2014 amid concern that nuclear power plants are too risky, Nomura Holdings Inc. said.
NGK Insulators Ltd. and GS Yuasa Corp. are among battery makers that may benefit as expansion of the solar power grid requires storage batteries, Kyoichiro Yokoyama, an analyst at Nomura, wrote in a report dated yesterday.
Japan may boost solar-power generation from the current 3.6 gigawatts to 10 gigawatts in 2014, according to the report. When capacity reaches that level, Japan will need storage batteries to smooth out fluctuations in power production based on weather, Nomura said, citing a government estimate.
Japan is preparing an energy strategy that may include an increase in solar and other renewable forms after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami crippled Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant. The trillions of yen of investment in batteries would take place by 2020, when the target for solar power production is 28 gigawatts, according to the report.
Japan had the third-most solar capacity in the world in 2010, behind Germany with 17 gigawatts and Spain with 3.7 gigawatts, according to the European Photovoltaic Industry Association.
Eoin Treacy's view So
called alternative energy sources such as wind and solar are not truly viable
as alternatives to mass electricity production fuelled by coal, oil, natural
gas or uranium because they cannot meet base load requirements. The only way
they could become viable is if technological leaps in battery technology are
made to ensure electricity production when the sun is not shining or the wind
is not blowing. At present industrial sized batteries that could meet this requirement
do not exist. It is highly likely that they will exist in future given the amount
of capital being invested in the sector.
Samsung SDI, LG Chem and Cheil Industries listed in South Korea, Johnson Controls listed in the USA, Mitsubishi Chemical and Toray Industries listed in Japan are among the leading contenders to develop industrial sized batteries.
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