July 28, 2021

Japan’s renewable energy industry determined to realize net-zero carbon emissions

Japan must do away with the traditional policies on land use and the national grid to facilitate the exploration of renewable energy and achieve net-zero carbon emissions in the next three decades. Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga who reported this target has promised to utilize $20 billion on green energy and has outlined new wind energy resolutions. The chief executive of Shizen Energy – a renewable energy company, Ken Isono, stated that the country has a lot of work to make visible progress in its pursuit of clean energy. He explained that Japan could have maintained in solar industry leadership from one-and-a-half decades ago, but the vision to keep the progress of this concept got lost. 

Experts articulated that the lack of vision in the country’s policies for renewable energy has sequestered the hope of the country leading again in renewables. Nevertheless, the new policies advocate for the generation of a quarter of the country’s electricity from renewable energy sources by the end of this decade. Three years ago the country was already obtaining about 17 percent from this industry although the coronavirus pandemic impeded any progress this year. Moreover, the country was generating more greenhouse gas emissions apart from six nations ahead of it as per the International Energy Agency. The country was overdependent on coal and natural gas with nuclear reactors remaining shut down due to fear of the program ending catastrophically after a similar accident in Fukushima. 

Isono advised the government to push the targets for renewables in this decade from 24 percent to 40 percent since the value is more realistic and compelling on the utilities venturing this sector. However, he explained that achieving this target would mean active and progressive efforts powered by investors. Experts usually think that the country is inappropriate for exploring renewable energy since the mountainous landscape hinders the development of solar and wind energy resources. On the other hand, Isono thinks this is an excuse that the government must make the citizens stop fantasizing about and develop the utilities on the lands in the country. He advocates for the utilization of the lands of people not likely to start farming in the next five or ten years for such projects. 

Isono articulated that there must be legal amendments to policies to allow local authorities to take over underutilized land and initiate renewable energy projects. This concept would avail land for solar resources to be developed and energy tapped for consumption. The head of Renewable Energy Institute, Mika Ohbayashi, opinionated that there are other underlying issues that the policies must address to facilitate the growth of the other renewables like wind power. She outlined that wind projects can sustain the country’s energy needs by a large percentage although their infusion into the grids is a bureaucratic problem.