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2013年3月31日 (日)

再生エネ発電 太陽光の購入価格はまだ高い

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Mar. 31, 2013)
Solar power purchase price remains too high
再生エネ発電 太陽光の購入価格はまだ高い(3月30日付・読売社説)

The government will lower prices for power companies to purchase electricity generated by solar power by about 10 percent under the feed-in tariff system starting in April. Currently, power companies are obliged under the system to buy electricity generated by renewable energy sources.
 再生可能エネルギーでつくった電気を電力会社が購入する制度で、政府は太陽光発電の買い取り価格を4月から約1割下げることを決めた。

The system, however, is designed to have utilities add costs of purchasing renewable energy to electricity charges paid by users. We think it is reasonable to lower the purchasing prices, considering recent price declines of solar panels.
 買い取り費用は電気料金に上乗せされ、利用者が負担する。太陽光パネルの価格下落などを踏まえて、買い取り価格を下げるのは当然の措置といえる。

But the latest price reduction is still not enough. The purchasing price of electricity generated by solar power will be lowered from the initial 42 yen to 38 yen per kilowatt-hour. But it is still too expensive compared with purchasing prices for electricity generated by wind and geothermal power, which are respectively 23 yen and 27 yen per kWh.
 だが、今回の下げ幅では不十分だ。太陽光の買い取り価格は当初の1キロ・ワット時あたり42円から38円になるが、風力の23円や地熱の27円に比べてまだ高すぎる。

Purchasing prices are revised once a year in principle but can be revised every six months if considered necessary. The government should revise purchasing prices flexibly based on price trends of power generation equipment for renewable energy.
 原則年1回の価格見直しも、必要なら半年で行える。政府は発電資材の価格動向などをにらみ、機動的に改定すべきである。

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Burden on electricity users

The feed-in tariff system aims to encourage the use of renewable energy. To this end, the government is understandably trying to make it possible for renewable energy businesses to stably generate profits with electricity generated by solar and wind power and other renewable energy purchased at fixed prices for 10 to 20 years.
 買い取り制度は再生エネ普及が目的だ。太陽光や風力などの電気を10~20年間にわたり一定価格で買い取ることで発電事業の収益安定を図る。その狙いはわかる。

However, it should never be forgotten that electricity users shoulder those purchasing costs. Setting purchasing prices high without careful consideration would excessively promote the entry of new companies and cause purchasing costs to skyrocket.
 ただし、買い取り費用が利用者の負担でまかなわれることを忘れてはならない。価格を安易に高く設定すると、新規参入が過剰に促進され、買い取りコストが急上昇する恐れがある。

In fact, a rush of new companies into the business, which has been dubbed a solar power boom, has caused electricity charges to soar in Germany, which introduced the feed-in tariff system ahead of Japan, creating a social problem.
 実際に、買い取り制度で先行したドイツでは「太陽光バブル」といわれる参入ラッシュで電気料金が急騰し、問題になっている。

Nearly 2,000 yen was added to monthly electricity charges for an ordinary household in Germany under its renewable energy program. Though the German government lowered purchasing prices by 60 percent in four years, the entry of new companies continues unabated because the break-even point for solar power generation has declined thanks to bargain prices for Chinese made solar panels and other factors.
 ドイツの一般家庭で電気料金に上乗せされる金額は毎月2000円近い。買い取り単価を4年で6割も下げたのに、中国製パネルの廉売などで太陽光発電の採算ラインが下がったため、参入に歯止めがかからないという。

Purchasing prices in Japan are two to three times those in Germany. Since the amount of electricity purchased under the system is still very small, the extra charge to each household is only 100 yen per month. But the government must stay on alert.
 日本の買い取り価格は、ドイツより2~3倍も高い。制度全体の買い取り規模が小さいため、家庭の負担はまだ月100円ほどだが、油断は禁物である。

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Don't follow German path

Applications for construction of mega solar power plants are being made in quick succession as companies seek government approval before purchasing prices are reduced.
 買い取り単価が下がらないうちに政府の認定を受けようと、駆け込み的な太陽光発電所(メガソーラー)の申請も相次いでいる。

This country could follow the same path as Germany unless the government lowers purchasing prices to an appropriate level before solar power plants under the feed-in tariff system increase sharply.
 買い取り対象となる発電所が急増する前に、価格を妥当な水準に下げておかないと、日本もドイツの二の舞いとなりかねない。

The current system, which determines purchasing prices by only studying documents, is also questionable. It is a matter of concern that some companies might obtain government approval when purchasing prices are still high and build power plants only after solar panel prices go down. The government should consider applying purchasing prices to those plants when they actually start operations.
 書類の認定だけで価格を確定する仕組みも疑問だ。価格が高い間に認定を受け、太陽光パネルが値下がりしてから設備を作る動きが懸念される。運転開始時の価格を適用するよう改めてはどうか。

Some Chinese solar panel makers have gone bankrupt because price competition is too fierce, but companies in Japan are slow to reduce costs of solar power generation.
 中国のパネルメーカーが倒産するほど価格競争は激しいのに、日本の太陽光発電コスト低減への動きは鈍い。

We think solar power companies would be ill-advised to try to exploit high purchasing prices under the system and neglect making efforts to reduce costs such as procurement of equipment at economical prices.
業者が高値での買い取り制度に甘え、安価な資材調達などのコスト削減努力をおろそかにしているのなら本末転倒だ。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, March 30, 2013)
(2013年3月30日01時44分  読売新聞)

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