The promotion of renewable energy will cost people in Japan 4.9 trillion yen ($45.8 billion) in fiscal 2030 through the feed-in tariff system, up from 3.1 trillion yen in fiscal 2019, according to government estimates, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned.

Under the feed-in tariff system, utilities are required to purchase electricity from solar and wind power at fixed prices, with part of the costs covered by a surcharge on households’ electricity bills.

As electricity produced from renewable energy sources is more expensive than electricity from sources such as thermal and nuclear power, the burden could rise further with the construction of offshore wind farms and the expansion of power grids.

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry’s estimates were set to be presented at a meeting of experts on March 1. They will be used as a reference in discussions to consider a new energy mix when the government revises the Strategic Energy Plan this summer.

The ministry estimated the total amount of renewable energy purchases based on three scenarios in which the percentage of renewable energy would increase from 18 per cent of the nation’s total power generation in fiscal 2019 to 22 per cent, 24 per cent or 25 per cent in fiscal 2030.

If all facilities, including planned large-scale solar power plants, are in operation, renewable energy will account for 25 per cent. In this scenario, the burden on the public is estimated to total 4.9 trillion yen, a 60 per cent increase from fiscal 2019. In the other two scenarios, the total burden is projected to be 3.9 trillion yen and 4.4 trillion yen.