Sustainability Science

, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp 185–197 | Cite as

Policy innovation for technology diffusion: a case-study of Japanese renewable energy public support programs

Special Feature: Original Article Socio-technological transitions

Abstract

Due to local scarcity of fossil fuel reserves, deployment of renewable energy has been on the Japanese government energy policy agenda for decades. While a significant amount of government budget was being allocated to renewables Research and Development, in contrast very little attention was paid to public support for renewable energy deployment. Against this background, in 2003, the Japanese government enacted legislation based on the renewable portfolio standard (RPS) scheme, which requires electricity retailers to supply a certain amount of electricity from renewable sources to grid consumers. The RPS legislation had been expected to ensure market efficiency, as well as bringing a steady increase in renewable capacity. Later, in 2009, the feed-in tariff (FIT) scheme was introduced to let electricity utilities purchase electricity generated from renewable energy sources with regulated prices. This paper aims to use the choice of renewable policy as a case-study to understand barriers for policy transfer and innovation, mainly through comparative studies between RPS and FIT in Japan. The result of this study shows that, in Japan, most policy-makers face the ‘lock-in’ of existing technology, which frustrates the deployment of renewable energy. For this reason, there is reluctance to allow experimentation that could promote a shift to other energy sources. In order to achieve the rapid change towards green industry, innovation policy needs to be implemented through effective and efficient methods, such as a carbon tax for fossil fuels; enlargement of renewable energy deployment to sources such as wind, geothermal and solar; and conducting further studies toward public preference and willingness to pay for the new clean energy sources.

Keywords

Policy innovation Renewable energy Feed-in tariff Renewable portfolio standard ‘Lock in’ technology 

References

  1. Barreto L, Kemp R (2008) Inclusion of technology diffusion in energy-systems models: some gaps and needs. J Clean Prod 16S1:95–101Google Scholar
  2. Berry F, Berry W (1999) Innovation and diffusion models in policy research. In: Sabatier P (ed) Theories of the policy process. Westview, Boulder, pp 223–260Google Scholar
  3. Cohen R, Noll G (1991) The technology pork barrel. Brookings Institution Press, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  4. Cyranoski D (2011) Japan rethinks its energy policy: renewables come to the fore as universities take the lead on electricity conservation. Nature Published online 18 May 2011. Nature 473:263. doi:10.1038/473263a. http://www.nature.com/news/2011/110518/full/473263a.html
  5. Dolowitz D, Marsh D (1996) Who learns from whom: a review of the policy transfer literature. Polit Stud 44(2):343–357CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Eblen RA, Eblen WR (1994) Encyclopaedia of the environment. Houghton Mifflin, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  7. European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA) (2011) Global market outlook for photovoltaics until 2015. http://www.epia.org/publications/photovoltaic-publications-global-market-outlook/global-market-outlook-for-photovoltaics-until-2015.html
  8. Evans A (2009) NGOs and climate change: shall we all just go home? Global Dashboard. Available online: http://www.globaldashboard.org/2009/08/28/ngos-and-climate-change-shall-we-all-just-go-home/
  9. Fouquet D (ed) Prices for renewable energies in Europe: feed-in tariffs versus quota systems—a comparison. http://www.eref-europe.org/dls/pdf/2007/eref_price_report_06_07.pdf
  10. Haas R, Faber T, Green J, Gual M, Huber C, Resch G, Ruijgrok W, Twidell J (2001) Promotion strategies for electricity from renewable energy sources in EU countries. http://www.ewec2006.info/fileadmin/ewea_documents/documents/projects/rexpansion/050531_Promotion_schemes.pdf
  11. Haas R, Meyer NI, Held A, Finon D, Lorenzoni A, Wiser R, Nishio K (2008) Promoting electricity from renewable energy sources: lessons learned from the EU, United States, and Japan. Compet Electr Markets 2008:419–468CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Harmelink M, Voogt M, Cremer C (2006) Analysing the effectiveness of renewable energy supporting policies in the European Union. Energy Policy 34(3):343–351CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Hein LE (1990) Fuelling growth: the energy revolution and economic policy in post-war Japan. Harvard University Press, MassachusettsGoogle Scholar
  14. Hirsh RF (1999) PURPA: the spur to competition and utility reconstructuring. Electr J 12(7):60–72CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Howlett M, Ramesh M (2003) Studying public policy: policy cycles and policy subsystems. Oxford University Press, OntarioGoogle Scholar
  16. Iida T (2002) Greening energy policy in Japan: Building a coalition for renewable energy. In: Harris M (ed) Energy market restructuring and the environment: governance and public goods in globally integrated markets. University Press of America, Maryland, pp 181–196Google Scholar
  17. International Energy Agency (2008) Energy technology perspectives 2008. IEA, ParisCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Jacobsson S, Johnson A (2000) The diffusion of renewable energy technology: an analytical framework and key issues for research. Energy Policy 28:625–640CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Japan Photovoltaic Energy Association (JPEA) http://www.jpea.gr.jp/04doc01.html. Accessed 11 Jan 2011
  20. Jupesta J, Suwa A (2011) Sustainable energy policy in Japan: post Fukushima. Int Assoc Energy Econ Fourth Quart Newsl 2011:23–26Google Scholar
  21. Mahajan V, Peterson RA (1985) Models for innovation diffusion: quantitative applications in the social sciences. Sage, LondonGoogle Scholar
  22. Meadowcroft J (2011) Engaging with the politics of sustainability transitions. Environ Innov Soc Transitions 1(1):70–75CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Menanteau P, Finon D, Lamy M (2003) Prices versus quantities: choosing policies for promoting the development of renewable energy. Energy Policy 31:799–812CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Mendonca M (2007) Feed-in tariffs: accelerating the deployment of renewable energy. Earthscan, LondonGoogle Scholar
  25. Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) http://www.enecho.meti.go.jp/kaitori/kokuji221119.pdf. Accessed 28 Dec 2011
  26. Nakicenovic N, Grubler A (eds) (1991) Diffusion of technologies and social behavior. Springer, BerlinGoogle Scholar
  27. Rao KU, Kishore VVN (2009) Wind power technology diffusion analysis in selected states of India. Renew Energy 34(4):983–988CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. REN21 (2011) Renewables 2011 global status report (Paris: REN21 Secretariat). Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) GmbH. http://www.ren21.net/Portals/97/documents/GSR/REN21_GSR2011.pdf
  29. Rogers E (1983) Diffusion of innovations. Free Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  30. Rotmans J, Kemp R, van Asselt MBA (2001) Transition management: a promising perspective’. In: Decker M (ed) Interdisciplinarity in technology assessment: implementation and its chances and limits. Springer, Berlin, pp 165–197Google Scholar
  31. Smith A, Stirling A, Berkhout F (2005) The governance of sustainable socio-technical transitions: a quasi-evolutionary model. Res Policy 34:1491–1510CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Van den Bergh JCJM, Truffer B, Kallis G (2011) Environmental innovation and societal transitions: introduction and overview. Environ Innov Soc Transitions 1:1–23CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Walker JL (1969) The diffusion of innovations among the American states. Am Polit Sci Rev 63:880–899CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Weyant J (2011) Accelerating the development and diffusion of new energy technologies: beyond the “valley of death”. Energy Econ 33(4):674–682CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Wiser R, Barbose G, Holt E (2011) Supporting solar power in renewables Portfolio standards: experience from the United States. Energy Policy 39:3894–3905CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.United Nations University Institute of Advanced StudiesYokohamaJapan
  2. 2.National Graduate Institute for Policy StudiesTokyoJapan

Personalised recommendations