For background of this announcement and our work, please see our relevant releases.
Cease Coal-Fired Power Exports and Shift to Renewable Energy Support
The Japanese government announced an “Outline of new strategy for overseas infrastructure development” today.
In the section of “Promotion of infrastructure with high environmental performance”, it explained the basic outline of the policy is to propose options that contribute to CO2 emission reduction and to support the formulation of decarbonization policy to host countries, and with some reservations, “in principle, not to support new export of coal-fired power plants”. On the other hand, under this policy, support for ongoing projects will be continued and it leaves loopholes to support new “high efficiency” coal-fired power exports.
The policy is based on the severe criticism of Japan's coal-fired power export support from both inside and outside Japan, and it shows that future energy exports will place importance on renewable energy. However, the conventional policy of promoting coal-fired power export has not completely changed.
Renewable Energy Institute published three data and information packages to support the efforts to change the coal-fired power export policy since February 2020 (1, 2, 3). These have revealed that CO2 emission reduction of “high-efficiency” coal is negligible, that Japanese coal-fired power generation is losing competitiveness in terms of performance and price, and that there are signs of shift to renewable energy in Southeast Asia, which is Japan’s important export destination.
During the coal-fired power exports policy review by the Committee established under the Ministry of the Environment, trading houses and utilities had announced that they would not export new coal-fired power in the future. It became clear that many Japanese companies have already started to shift away from coal-fired power business. We will continue to work with partners to seek transformation of Japan's energy policy and realize the shift from coal-fired power to renewable energy.
Executive Director Teruyuki Ohno said “The announced policy indicates that while there is a strong persistence of coal-fired power, there are growing calls for stronger decarbonization policies within the government. Renewable Energy Institute will work with partners to completely halt coal-fired power exports. ”