Scant support for wind from stimulus budget

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Wind energy development in Japan appears to be receiving little new support in the country's latest JPY 15.4 trillion ($156 billion) stimulus package. The budget, announced April 10 and equivalent to about 3.5% of GDP, contains about JPY 100 billion ($1 billion) worth of subsidies for renewable energy. It earmarks JPY 36.2 billion ($368.4 million) to cover up to one-third of the cost of developing renewable energy facilities, including wind farms, but the recipient programs have been long established and no major new incentives for wind power are included. On the other hand, solar power is likely to get a significant boost from a commitment in the stimulus budget to double the government mandated price paid for power generated by home photovoltaic systems. The government is also providing new funds to equip schools and other public facilities with solar panels. Japan's patronage of the solar industry is not surprising given the strong competitive position of local champions such as Sharp, one of the world's leading manufacturers of solar panels.

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