The full-fledged reform of Japan’s electricity system was triggered by the nuclear disaster at Tokyo Electric Power Company’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in March 2011. In response to the accident, the discussion for the power system restructuring started in 2012. Since then, an organization for inter-regional grid operation and a commission for electricity market surveillance were established, and full opening of the retail market was implemented. As legal unbundling of all incumbent utilities was completed in April 2020, we are now at a turning point in the restructuring process.
During this period, renewables have been increasing and sometimes cover more than 100% of the electricity demand in some areas. At the same time, curtailment and grid capacity issues hinder the renewable enhancement.
This paper reviews the path of the reform and examines the outcome, including unbundling, market surveillance, rules and regulation for grids and newly introduced markets such as a capacity market. The paper also shows the recommendations to accelerate the reform on this basis.
<Table of Contents>
Introduction: Nine years of electricity system reform
Chapter 1 Completing the unbundling and strengthening the authority of the independent regulatory body
Part 1 Types of generation–transmission separation and assessment of legal unbundling
Part 2 Conduct regulations under legal unbundling
Part 3 Role of independent regulatory body and its enhancement of authority
Chapter 2 Promoting competition in the retail sector and the market to realize decarbonized society
Part 1 For fair competition in the retail sector
Part 2 Promotion of retail market reforms to realize a decarbonized society
Chapter 3 Promoting competition and market system reform in the generation sector
Part 1 Competition in the generation sector and the status of the day-ahead market
Part 2 The “Baseload market” and electricity futures market
Part 3 Concept of capacity market and decarbonization
Chapter 4 Realizing fair and rational grid operations
Part 1 New initiatives for grid connection
Part 2 Rational enhancement of transmission networks
Column: Approaches to setting charges for grid strengthening – Generation Side Basic Wheeling Charge, G-Charge
Part 3 Balancing supply and demand to accelerate high integration of renewables
List of Recommendations