Japan takes COVID-19 opportunity to undergo green shift and cut down on carbon emissions, says GlobalData

During the COVID-19 pandemic utilities turned their attention from coal-based generation to renewables. Japan is using the opportunity provided by the pandemic where the government over a decade plans to terminate about 90% of the nation’s 114 coal-fired power generation units which have poor performance and low-efficiency. This is expected to assist the nation to reduce its carbon emissions and shift towards renewable energy, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

Somik Das, Senior Power Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “Japan is a resource-scarce country that relies on coal for about a third of its energy needs. In the past couple of years, almost 30-33% of electricity generation came from coal. 2019 saw coal-based generation form 34% of the total generation, reducing it further as per the plan, representing an expected 26% of the generation mix by 2030.”

As the country plans to continue using its high-efficiency coal-fired power plants, 100 low-efficiency plants are being planned to be phased out. Also, Japan’s latest Strategic Energy Plan targets to spice up the share of renewables and nuclear in electricity generation to 22-24% and 20-22% respectively over the decade.

The country will support other developing nations with its coal power technologies. With the country’s inability to build up clean nuclear-based generation, Japan has maintained a target to scale down emission by 26% over the decade, compared to 2013. This target might be seen by global environmental authorities as less ambitious.

Mr Das concludes: “Nuclear-based generation formed a meagre 2.1% of the total generation last year, with this year throwing the prospects of it being more than 2.5%. Amid safety concerns following the 2011 Fukushima crisis, Japan has been struggling in the nuclear power generation front. The inability to fully generate from its nuclear sources and the renewables forming an expected 15-20% of the generation for the following few years, the nation is likely to have gone conservative on its emission reduction target.

“COVID-19 allows the nation to draw focus on renewables. This year the total solar and wind capacity of the country is anticipated to grow by more than 8%. In the long-term, wind is expected to emerge as the fastest-growing technology. The country is eagerly looking into developing utility-scale Solar PV, Floating renewable projects, and energy storage to further develop the renewable landscape.”

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