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2014年10月11日 (土)

再生エネ中断 電力の安定供給が優先される

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Put priority on stable electricity supply over use of renewable energy
再生エネ中断 電力の安定供給が優先される

Under the government’s feed-in tariff system, Japan’s major electricity utilities are obligated to buy power from renewable energy producers at set rates. However, a growing number of utilities are freezing new applications by producers keen to access their grids with electricity generated through solar, wind and other renewable sources.
 太陽光や風力など再生可能エネルギーの固定価格買い取り制度を巡り、大手電力会社が、新たな受け入れを中断する動きが広がっている。

Seven of the nation’s 10 major utilities, including Hokkaido Electric Power Co., Tohoku Electric Power Co. and Kyushu Electric Power Co., have explained that the surge in applications to provide electricity generated through renewable sources has exceeded the capacity their grids can accept. If this situation is left unaddressed, there are fears it could destabilize the balance of electricity supply and demand and lead to blackouts, according to the utilities.
 電力10社のうち北海道、東北、九州など7社で、買い取り申請が急増し、受け入れ能力を超えた、と説明している。このままでは、電力需給バランスが崩れ、停電を起こす恐れがあるという。

We want more renewable energy to be used as much as possible. Nevertheless, the stable supply of electricity must be given top priority. Shortcomings in the government’s feed-in tariff system must be quickly remedied.
 再生エネはできる限り普及させたいが、電力の安定供給が最優先である。政府は買い取り制度の欠陥を早急に正さねばならない。

If the renewable energy providers approved by the government were all operating, they would have a supply capacity of 70 million kilowatts. This would equate to 90 percent of the government’s target, which is to have renewables provide 20 percent of the nation’s total electricity supply.
 政府が認定した再生エネ発電所がすべて稼働した場合の供給能力は7000万キロ・ワットとなり、全発電量の2割を目指すという政府目標の9割を達成できる計算だ。

A glance at these figures would suggest the introduction of renewable energy is proceeding swimmingly. However, there are pitfalls.
 数字の上では再生エネ導入が順調に進んでいるように見えるが、落とし穴があった。

A major weak point of solar and many other renewable energy sources is that their output can fluctuate sharply depending on weather conditions and the time of day. Failure to maintain a steady balance with demand presents the risk of disrupting the frequency and voltage of electricity supplies, which could in turn cause power outages and damage equipment and facilities.
 太陽光などは、天候や時間帯によって発電量が急激に変動する短所を抱えている。需要量と的確に均衡を保たないと、電気の周波数や電圧が乱れ、停電や設備の故障を引き起こす恐れがある。

Supply-demand balance key

The greater the use of renewable energy, the more adjustments must be made to the supply of electricity generated through such sources as thermal power generation. This can make it difficult to maintain a balance between supply and demand.
 再生エネが多いほど、火力など他の電源の発電量を調整し、需給均衡させることが困難になる。

This is why the special measures law enacted to promote renewable energy stipulates that power companies can refuse to buy electricity generated from renewables if they have concerns that there may be hindrances to the smooth supply of electricity.
 再生エネ特別措置法が、電気の円滑な供給に支障が生ずるおそれがある場合は、電力会社が再生エネの買い取りを拒否できると定めているのは、このためだ。

Power companies feel a sense of alarm that the rapid acceleration of renewable energy provision could jeopardize a steady supply of electricity in the future. We can understand why some have taken the step of limiting access to their grids.
 再生エネ導入の急加速を受け、電力各社が、将来の安定供給に危機感を持ち、受け入れ制限に踏み切ったのは理解できる。

The Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry has established a task force of experts that has started to examine what capacity of electricity generated through renewable energy the nation’s utilities can handle. At the House of Councillors Budget Committee on Tuesday, Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Yuko Obuchi said, “I hope the task force will finish its work by the end of the year.”
 経済産業省は有識者による作業部会を設け、再生エネ買い取り可能量の調査を始めた。小渕経産相は7日の参院予算委員会で「年内に検証を終えたい」と述べた。

Under pressure from the halt in renewable energy generation plans, many operators have been left in the lurch. We hope this issue will be thoroughly examined based on accurate data.
 再生エネ発電の計画が中断を強いられ、窮地に立つ事業者も少なくない。正確なデータに基づき、しっかり検証してもらいたい。

There are ways utilities could accept a greater amount of electricity generated from renewable energy sources. For example, they could install huge storage batteries and build more transmission lines between their respective areas so surplus electricity could be shared among them as needed. However, implementing these steps on a large scale will reportedly come with a price tag measured in trillions of yen.
 再生エネ発電をより多く受け入れるには、大型蓄電池の設置や、電力会社間の送電線拡充による余剰電力の相互受け入れなどの手段がある。ただ、これらを本格的に実施するには、兆円単位の費用がかかると言われる。

It is expected these costs will mount if the use of renewables expands dramatically. However, right now there are not even rules in place for covering these expenses.
 再生エネを急激に拡大すれば、こうしたコストがかさむことは予想されていたが、それを賄うルールさえ決まっていない。

The root of the problem is the slipshod design of the system, decided when the Democratic Party of Japan was in power several years ago. Its flaws include insufficient screening processes and inflated prices at which utilities must buy electricity. We think the government should review the system from top to bottom, and revise its policies for promoting greater use of renewable energy to make them more realistic.
 高すぎる買い取り価格や審査体制の不備なども含め、民主党政権時代に決めた制度設計の甘さが、問題の根幹にある。政府は制度を抜本的に見直し、現実的な再生エネ普及策に改めるべきだ。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 9, 2014)Speech

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