Japan’s prime minister announced last week that nuclear energy would be phased out in a three-step plan focused on the long-term use of renewable energy and smart technology, according to a report by Industrial Info Resources.

This announcement comes after a previous pledge of continued use of nuclear energy in March. Industrial Info reports the Japanese government has not yet disclosed the details of the phase-out plan, nor released a breakdown of the future energy mix, but says renewable energies are expected to become a primary factor in Japan’s future energy strategy.

In light of this announcement, two relatively untapped energy sources to be further developed in Japan are geothermal energy and solar power. Until now, Industrial Info reports concerns over cost, seismic aggravation, and aesthetics have stopped most Japanese companies from increasing capacity in geothermal energy. However, oil and gas developers Idemitsu Kosan Company Limited (Tokyo) and Inpex Corporation (Tokyo) have plans to work together to determine the geothermal potential in two areas of northern Japan with plans for possible development.

Solar power, on the other hand, has been identified for more development as solar in the residential sector is expected to grow in the near future. Industrial Info reports solar panel manufacturer Solar Frontier, a subsidiary of Showa Shell Sekiyu K.K. (Tokyo), has announced that its flagship plant in Miyazaki prefecture has begun commercial operation with sights set on the global market.

In addition, other companies like Tokyo Gas Company Limited (Tokyo) are buying shares in renewable energy-based generation companies “in order to diversify their business and fulfill Renewable Portfolio Standard agreements,” Industrial Info reports. Tokyo Gas is also involved in the development of hydrogen fuel cells and is participating in the operation of two windfarms in northern Japan.

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