The FiT scheme introduced in 2012 has driven bioenergy growth in Japan in recent years. As a result of this, fuel consumption has increased sharply, and ensuring sustainability has become a pressing issue.
This position paper explores the path towards the development of sustainable wood bioenergy in Japan. When the FiT scheme was introduced in 2012, there were originally no regulations forcing electricity producers to verify sustainability of fuel. In April 2019, discussions on the establishment of sustainability standards and a certification system that could be used to verify compliance with the standards began. However, the scope was limited to agricultural biomass and did not include woody biomass. Now, since the beginning of fiscal 2020, evaluation methods of greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions reduction benefits of bioenergy are under discussion. It is important to point out that in order to realize the transition of energy system for decarbonization by 2050, it is critical to adopt a comprehensive approach which includes wood bioenergy.
This paper proposes an approach for developing systems for ensuring sustainability of woody biomass that are premised on Japan’s FiT scheme. It points out issues in the current system in Japan, and shows the direction and necessary approaches we should take for verifying GHG reduction benefits and setting GHG reduction targets with a long-term view. The paper also highlights the importance of sustainable forest management, which constitutes the basis for ensuring the sustainability of wood bioenergy.
<Table of Contents>
Chapter 1: Systems for Ensuring the Sustainability of Woody Bioenergy
I. Current state of wood bioenergy development and issues going forward
1. Global status
2. Status in Japan
II. Systems for Ensuring Sustainability
1. Current state of ensuring wood bioenergy sustainability and related problems
2. Direction of sustainability verification for wood bioenergy
Chapter 2: Promoting Use of Bioenergy as a Climate Change Measure
I. Framework for tracking GHG reductions through bioenergy use
1. Commencing verification of GHG reduction benefits under the FiT scheme
2. Overall flow of GHG for assessment
II. Development of systems for managing GHG reduction benefits
1. Points related to LCA-based management for GHG reduction
2. Setting appropriate GHG reduction targets
3. Establishing the carbon neutrality of woody bioenergy