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Rethinking national energy policy: Japan’s looming electricity crisis, nuclear power, and the fate of TEPCO in 2011-2012
- Paul J. Scalise
The March 11 earthquake-tsunami-nuclear crisis has shaken Japan. The loss of life and property damage is tragic. But the one entity that has captured global attention more than any other is Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO). Beleaguered by a month-long nuclear crisis at Fukushima Dai-ichi now rated on par with Chernobyl, TEPCO’s share price has collapsed by almost 80% in just 4 weeks. Talk of nationalization persists, as investors, journalists and analysts ask the same question: can TEPCO survive? Paul Scalise takes an in-depth look at Japan’s national energy policy by analyzing the political economy that supported what was once the largest privately owned electric power company in the world. Topics of analysis will include blackout risk in Tokyo and its spillover effects, bankruptcy risk for TEPCO, the economics of on-grid versus off-grid electric power generation, renewable energy versus nuclear power, and the politics of electric power restructuring.