Japan solicits comments on proposed changes to FIT program

By Erin Voegele | September 21, 2020

Japan is proposing to shorten the eligibility window for previously approved and future biomass projects under its feed-in tariff (FIT) program, according to a report filed with the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service’s Global Agricultural Information Network on Sept. 18.

According to the report, Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) on Sept. 7 proposed time limits on how long approved FIT projects should take to become operational biomass power plants. Approved FIT project that do not meet the new criteria would lose their FIT eligibility.

The GAIN report explains that after METI approves a project for FIT, the project operator would need to secure an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract within five years. To retain FIT eligibility, a power plant of under 10 megawatts (MW) would have to be operational within eight years of the METI’s FIT approval.  

METI has also proposed to limit the total duration of FIT eligibility for all biomass projects to 24 years from the date of FIT approval. As a result, larger projects that require more time to become operational would be eligible for FIT for a shorter time when compared to projects that are brought online quickly.

According to the report, METI’s current FIT program imposes no limit on the time to operationalize a biomass power plant following METI’s approval. The current program also allows completed FIT-approved biomass projects to retain FIT eligibility for 20 years after the plant is first commissioned.

Public comments are being accepted on the preproposal through Oct. 6. Additional information is available in the USDA FAS GAIN report