Renewable Energy

In the context of Japan’s energy policy objectives, renewable energy is both a strategic opportunity and a practical challenge. Following the 2011 Great East Japan earthquake and tsunami and the subsequent shutdown of its nuclear power fleet, Japan is left with extremely high import dependence. In addition, the gap that nuclear power has left in the electricity mix, despite successful efforts to rapidly reduce consumption peaks, had to be filled with fossil generation in the short term, which increased both the country’s domestic carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and import costs. As a domestic resource, renewable energy reduces import dependence and increases energy security by diversifying the energy mix. It also helps Japan reduce its CO2 emissions. 

Japan has a variety of renewable energy resources, including geothermal, hydropower, wind and solar energy as well as biomass. However, the country’s high population density and mountainous geography constrain available land for developing renewable energy projects, leaving good and available resources often in locations that are far away from population centres.

The introduction of a feed-in tariff (FIT) system in 2012 marked a turning point for renewables in Japan. Driven by the desire to attract large investments quickly, the government established generous incentives in favour of renewable energy sources. However, non-economic barriers, such as lengthy environmental approval processes, inhibited the uptake of most sources, apart from solar photovoltaics (PV). The result was a rapid increase in solar PV capacity, and its penetration reached high levels locally. 

International Energy Agency, Energy Policies of IEA Countries: Japan, 2016

Based on the Strategic Energy Plan, Japan tackles the policy targets related to Safety, Energy security, Economic efficiency, and Environment simultaneously. The Plan also refers reducing dependence on nuclear power generation as much as possible by promoting energy efficiency and conservation, introduction of renewable energy, and introduction of efficient thermal power plants.

NOMU, Japanʼs Strategic Energy Plan, 2018

Table of Contents

  • Overview
  • Hydroelectricity
  • Solar Energy
  • Wind Energy
  • Bio Energy
  • Expert Reports
  • Annual Report
  • Further Reading
  • Relevant Organisations and Trade Fairs