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Japan’s industry ministry is considering raising the proportion of low-carbon power sources in the country’s energy mix to about 60% in fiscal 2030, sources said Friday.

The figure, which includes nuclear power, will be featured in the country’s next basic energy program. The move comes after Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga recently announced a new goal of reducing the country’s greenhouse gas emissions in fiscal 2030 by 46% from the fiscal 2013 level.

Under the current basic energy program, compiled in 2018, the target shares of thermal power, renewable energy and nuclear power in fiscal 2030 are set at 56%, 22% to 24 % and 20% to 22%, respectively.

In the new program, the ministry aims to raise the share of renewables to slightly below 40% while keeping the proportion of nuclear power at about 20%, sources familiar with the matter said. The share of thermal power will be reduced to about 40%.

In fiscal 2019, which ended in March 2020, renewable energy accounted for 18% of the country’s energy sources, while nuclear power made up 6%, both far lower than the proportion of over 70% for thermal power.

The government aims to compile the new program this summer.

A group of lawmakers from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party on Friday called for the proportion of renewables to be increased to at least 45%.

Industry minister Hiroshi Kajiyama told a news conference on the day that his ministry will adopt what is good for the country, suggesting that it will take the ruling camp’s views into consideration in the decision-making process for the new energy program.

With renewables costlier than thermal power, however, a rapid increase in their use may lead to higher electricity bills, industry sources said.

In addition, there is little prospect of the restart of idled nuclear reactors in the nation being accelerated as concerns about the safety of nuclear energy remain strong more than 10 years after the March 2011 meltdowns at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s tsunami-stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

Against this background, the ministry plans to carefully consider setting the shares of the energy sources for fiscal 2030 while closely watching progress in the development of renewable technology and public opinion.

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