Japan plots shift from coal to renewable energy

04-Jul-2020 Intellasia | KyodoNews | 8:51 AM Print This Post

Japan will begin discussions this month on concrete steps to reduce its dependence on coal and shift towards renewable energy sources to cut down on carbon emissions, Industry minister Hiroshi Kajiyama said Friday.

The announcement came a day after reports that Japan will shut down 100 or so of its 140 existing coal-fired generators by fiscal 2030 amid international criticism that it is not doing enough to fight global warming.

“We will look for ways to usher out low-efficiency coal while ensuring there is enough capacity to maintain a stable energy supply,” Kajiyama told a press conference, adding that placing new restrictions on electric utilities could be an option.

Japan currently depends on coal to generate 32 percent of its electricity, compared with just 17 percent generated by renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power.

Kajiyama said the government will look for ways to promote renewable energy, including by reforming rules on using the power grid. The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry will set up an expert panel in July to come up with specific steps.

Environment minister Shinjiro Koizumi said at a press conference that it was a “big step towards showing the international community Japan’s commitment to realising a carbon-free society.”

Under its Strategic Energy Plan, released in 2018, Japan aims to reduce its dependence on coal to 26 percent by fiscal 2030, while boosting its reliance on renewable energy to 22 to 24%, and nuclear energy from 6 percent to 20 to 22%.

Kajiyama said the ministry is also considering tougher requirements for firms receiving government support to export coal technology.

But he stressed that Japan would not quit such exports outright.

“Some developing countries have no choice but to use coal for their energy needs, for economic reasons or because they don’t have other natural resources,” he said.

Of Japan’s 140 coal-fired generators, 26 are considered high efficiency and will likely remain operational past fiscal 2030. A further 16 are currently under construction.

The only member of the Group of Seven industrialised nations still pursuing new coal-fired power plants, Japan last December was awarded the “Fossil of the Day” award from an environmental group during a UN climate change conference for refusing to phase out coal.

In March, Japan maintained its target of a 26 percent reduction in carbon emission from fiscal 2013 levels by fiscal 2030 under the Paris Agreement despite calls to set a more ambitious goal.



Category: Japan

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