Nation could get 43% of power from renewable energy by ’20, report says

by Eric Johnston

Staff Writer

Japan could phase out nuclear power by the end of next year and generate 43 percent of its electricity by 2020 from renewable energy, according to a report compiled by Greenpeace International and the Tokyo-based Institute for Sustainable Energy Policies.

To meet these goals, Greenpeace and ISEP called on Japan to reduce electricity demand by 1.7 percent a year on average between now and 2020. Other proposals are to use more liquid natural gas, which releases less emissions than coal or oil-fired plants.

The report, released Monday, calls for emphasizing two renewable energy sources for power generation. This includes official policies to increase the average annual wind power market from about 220 megawatts in 2010 to around 6,000 megawatts by 2020, and increasing the solar photovoltaic (PV) market from 990 megawatts in 2010 to 6,700 megawatts by 2020.

The report predicts clean energy sector jobs could triple by 2015, reaching 326,000, compared with projections of 81,500 for a business-as-usual approach. Of these new jobs, about 144,000 are expected to be created in the solar PV industry.

“With only 11 out of 54 reactors online at the height of summer and little impact to daily life, Japan has already proven that by conserving energy it does not need nuclear power. Our plan is ambitious, but this is exactly what Japan needs: ambitious solutions that provide jobs, energy independence, and ensure a safe, clean and sustainable future,” said Hisayo Takada, Greenpeace Japan’s climate and energy campaigner.

For the plan to become reality, Greenpeace and ISEP have drawn up a list of actions the central government needs to take.

This includes an effective feed-in tariff program.