The government plans to adopt its next basic energy policy in June, with the program serving as a guideline for the country’s medium- to long-term energy policies, sources said Friday.
The focus will be on how much the country can promote the use of renewable energy in realizing its new goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 46% by 2030 from 2013 levels. That goal was announced by Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga at a U.S.-sponsored online climate summit Thursday.
The government believes it necessary to increase the use of energy sources other than fossil fuels. This includes raising the share of nuclear and renewables such as solar to generate electricity.
The government’s current basic policy calls for increasing the share of nonfossil fuel energy to up to levels slightly below 50% by 2030. At a news conference Friday, industry minister Hiroshi Kajiyama said the proportion will surely exceed that figure in the next basic policy.
As an immediate solution, the government is pinning its hopes on solar power. But flat areas suitable for the installation of solar facilities are limited in the mountainous country.
Meanwhile, only a handful of offshore wind power plants are expected go into operation by 2030.
The government is also speeding up work to introduce next-generation thermal power plants using hydrogen and ammonia that do not emit carbon dioxide during the combustion process. But their share will likely be small, at around just 1%, as of 2030.
A group Liberal Democratic Party lawmakers on Friday submitted to Kajiyama and Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato a set of proposals, including for building new nuclear power plants and rebuilding existing plants.
But the country continues to face hurdles to increasing the use of nuclear power as safety concerns linger among the public a decade after the March 2011 triple-meltdown at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s tsunami-hit Fukushima No. 1 plant — the country’s worst atomic disaster.
Just nine reactors have been reactivated since the nuclear accident.
Public distrust has even risen after revelations of a series of security flaws at Tepco’s Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant in Niigata Prefecture earlier this year.
Indeed, ramping up the proportion of nuclear power to 20% to 22% of the country’s overall energy mix by 2030 will likely pose a vexing challenge for the government, observers say.
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