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HOME  > Past issues  > 2022 June 29 - July 5  > Japan's self-sufficiency rate in energy is only 10%, expansion of renewables is a must
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2022 June 29 - July 5 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Japan's self-sufficiency rate in energy is only 10%, expansion of renewables is a must

July 3, 2022
Akahata editorial (excerpts)

Japan's self-sufficiency rate in energy is only 10%. When a large demand for electricity is predicted, it is necessary to make energy-saving efforts, impose demand controls on large electricity consumers, and utilize electricity storage systems. It is also necessary to promote heat insulation for buildings and make power use more efficient in order to save energy. At the same time, a principle of placing priority on the use of renewables should be established, and nationwide power grids should be improved promptly so that the use of renewable sources of energy can be made available.

The massive diffusion of renewables is a key to raising the country's self-sufficiency rate in energy, but Prime Minister Kishida Fumio continues insisting on the "maximum use of nuclear power".

The nation's electricity output in fiscal 2020 was about one trillion kilowatt-hours. According to an estimate conducted by the Environment Ministry, renewables have a potential to generate about 7.5 trillion kilowatt-hours or seven times larger than the present power usage.

The government, however, is reluctant to expand renewables. It instead clings to coal-fired thermal and nuclear power generation. Under the government's Basic Energy Plan approved by the Cabinet in 2021, the ratio of renewables to the total will account for only 36%-38% of the total in fiscal 2030. Japan lags far behind Germany (43%) and the U.K. (39%) in using renewables. These countries set a target of 60%-70% renewable generation by 2030.

Japan is very slow to work on carbon-free technologies, which will possibly harm Japanese corporations' international competitiveness. The Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association estimates that the export of about five million cars will disappear, one million people will lose jobs, and 26 trillion yen will be lost if the export of Japanese cars becomes restricted due to their CO2 emissions in the production process in defiance of the global trend toward a carbon-free life cycle ranging from production to consumption.

An energy experts' study group suggests that energy demand be reduced by about 40% and that 44% of nation's power be covered by renewables by 2030. The study group estimates that these measures will make it possible to create 2.54 million new jobs and increase Japan's GDP by 205 trillion yen.

Promotion of energy-saving measures and the use of renewables are a pressing task to tackle the climate crisis. These are a way to contribute to Japan's economic growth.
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