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JREF’s Comments on the METI’s ‘Energy Mix’ Proposal
"Japan’s renewable energy target for electricity should be at least 30%" 19 May 2015
Japanese original version: 28 April 2015

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) of Japan presented, at the “Panel for long-term outlook for energy supply and demand” held on April 28, a draft of “Energy mix (electricity mix)” for 2030 which limits the share of renewable energy to 22-24% of electricity generation, sets the goal for coal and oil to 29% despite their high carbon emissions, and for nuclear to 20-22%.

This METI’s plan ignores the wish of the overwhelming majority of the population supporting a transformation to a safe and secure energy system after the Fukushima nuclear disaster, and also impairs international efforts to avoid further climate change risks.

At least 30% of renewable energy introduction is necessary

Developed countries and regions in Europe and the United States have set 40% or more renewable energy targets by 2030, regardless of their nuclear energy policy. This METI’s proposal is a retrograde goal, far from these "developed country standards."

Since the introduction of feed-in tariffs, renewable energy has also shown remarkable growth in Japan. In fiscal 2014, renewable energy is expected to increase by 1.5 percentage point from the previous year and exceed 12% including hydropower, making the 30% goal by 2030 quite feasible. Furthermore, if energy saving is thoroughly pursued, it may even be possible to cover 45 % of the power demand from renewable energy. Thus the target for renewable energy should be at least 30%.

Significantly reduce dependence on coal, and take international responsibility to tackle climate change

To maintain a large share of electricity from coal, one of the top sources of carbon dioxide emissions, will go against the international efforts to combat climate change. In developed countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom, regulations have been introduced to make constructions of new coal-fired plants virtually impossible, and policies are strongly pursued to reduce the number of existing coal-fired plants.

Chanting the need for nuclear power plants to reduce carbon dioxide emission on the one hand, and promoting the maintenance and expansion of coal-fired power plants on the other hand causes suspicion over the seriousness of the government to tackle climate change. Japan should significantly reduce its dependence on coal and oil, and fossil fuel uses should be centered on high-efficiency natural gas power plants, which have the lowest carbon dioxide emissions, and CHP plants.

The energy mix in light of the voice of the people

The METI’s draft for the "Panel for long-term outlook for energy supply and demand" is one-sided; it does not present the fact that nuclear power is decreasing in developed countries, emphasizes the superiority of coal-fired power plants, and fails to introduce any data showing the significant cost reduction of renewables in recent years and their accelerated deployment in the world (50GW of solar and wind respectively in 2014 alone). Moreover, METI’s estimate of power generation costs for each power source is arbitrary. It notably overestimates the cost of expanding renewable energy, leading to the conclusion drawn in advance, “raising the share of renewable energy is expensive.”

Despite clear results of many public polls proving that about 60% of the population is against the re-operation of nuclear power plants, the government is pushing for 20-22% nuclear even for 2030, keeping the target for renewable energy low. The METI’s proposal is a straightforward demonstration of the fact that it is not listening to the voice of the people.

The government should face the global trend in energy transformation, respect the people's voice, promote a thorough energy efficiency policy, and determine an energy mix target of at least 30 % renewable energy.



For more information, please contact us:

Japan Renewable Energy Foundation
TEL: 03-6895-1020 / FAX: 03-6895-1021
URL: http://www.renewable-ei.org/
E-mail: info※renewable-ei.org (Please change ※ into @)

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