Japan’s draft energy plan focuses on renewable energy infrastructure, but power source targets left unchanged

Kyodo

Japan will focus more on renewables as a key power source in an effort to curb the country’s nuclear dependence, a draft energy plan stated Wednesday, despite maintaining the same energy mix targets as before.

The plan, which serves as a guide to the country’s mid- to long-term energy policy, stresses the need for resource-poor Japan to build infrastructure that will enable it to contribute to the fight against global warming through reductions in carbon dioxide emissions.

Nonetheless, the government kept the same targets for its mix of energy sources as in the previous plan. In fiscal 2030, it aims to have renewables account for 22 to 24 percent of electric power generation in the country, while nuclear is intended to comprise 20 to 22 percent.

Japan updates its energy plan roughly every three years. The government hopes to finalize the plan, presented Wednesday to a panel of experts under the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, and seek Cabinet approval this summer, officials said.

The plan is being compiled in light of the 2015 Paris climate accord, under which Japan committed to an 80 percent cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 from 2013 levels.

As power generation costs have been falling overseas, the plan says Japan needs to proactively promote renewables while creating a stable and sustainable energy supply.

Drawing lessons from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear crisis, the country will strive to reduce its dependence on nuclear power generation. But the plan also calls nuclear power an important energy source that will help create a “decarbonized” energy market without carbon dioxide emissions.

Many nuclear power plants remain offline following the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, which sparked safety concerns among the public.

The administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe maintains a pro-nuclear policy and seeks to restart plants after safety checks. Some in the business community have been calling for new plants to be built but the document does not mention any specific plans to do so.