Japan business lobby wants scaled-back renewables target in 2030 plan

Published 05:49 on April 7, 2015  /  Last updated at 08:15 on April 7, 2015  /  Asia Pacific, Japan  /  No Comments

Japan should ditch its ambitions on renewable energy and instead rely primarily on fossil fuels and nuclear power to 2030, Keidanren, the country’s main business lobby, said.

Japan should ditch its ambitions on renewable energy and instead rely primarily on fossil fuels and nuclear power to 2030, Keidanren, the country’s main business lobby, said.

The group, spanning over 1,300 companies and 112 industry organisations, released a report Monday saying Japan’s energy mix in 2030 should consist of around 60% fossil fuels, at least 25% nuclear power and 15% renewable energy.

The report is Keidanren’s contribution to a government-appointed energy mix committee, whose final recommendations to the government will form the basis for Japan’s INDC, which is expected to be submitted to the UN in June.

The group said it is unrealistic for Japan to have an ambitious renewables target, contradicting officials from the Ministry of Energy, Trade and Industry (METI), who last month told the energy mix committee they expected over 20% of Japan’s electricity to be generated from renewable sources in 2030.

A recent Ministry of Environment stipulated 35% could come from renewable sources in a “high scenario”.

“I honestly don’t want to believe this (Keidanren report) is the representation of the highest ambition of Japanese business. They can do more on renewables and energy efficiency, while phasing out and reducing nuclear and coal,” one observer told Carbon Pulse.

Keidanren’s main plan is to bring controversial nuclear power back online, achieving a minimum 25% share of the mix by the end of the next decade.

“This requires either extension of the lifetime of existing nuclear power plants from 40 years to more or building new ones, because it will be about 15% if you assume 40 year lifetime phase-out,” the observer said.

Fossil fuels would still account for 60% of Japan’s energy under the Keidanren plan. Coal would account for 27% of the total, the same share as in 2012.

The group also released a report outlining how industry could contribute to emission cuts, including through efforts on technology improvements and energy efficiency, but stopped short of setting an overall target.

By Stian Reklev – stian@carbon-pulse.com

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