Japan’s reliance on renewables tops 20% for 1st time

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Solar panels in Yokkaichi, Mie Prefecture

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Japan’s reliance on renewable energy sources in fiscal 2021 rose 0.5 percentage point from the previous year to 20.3% of its overall annual electricity generation, exceeding 20% for the first time ever, according to industry ministry data.

In the year that ended in March, solar power accounted for 8.3%, wind power 0.9% and hydropower 7.5%.

The proportion of nuclear power rose 3.0 points to 6.9%, reflecting progress on reactivating reactors.

However, the country’s reliance on renewables was still low compared with other major economies.

According to the ministry, in 2020 the reliance stood at 43.6% in Germany and 43.1% in Britain. Even in China, which is also highly reliant on coal-fired power generation, it came to 27.7%.

Japan has set a target of making renewables account for 36-38% in fiscal 2030, but it will not be easy to achieve the goal, pundits said.

In fiscal 2020, thermal power generation met 72.9% of the total electricity demand in the country, with natural gas making up 34.4% and coal 31.0%.

The amount of carbon dioxide emissions grew 1.2% to 980 million tons, up for the first time in eight years, due chiefly to the resumption of economic activities after the novel coronavirus crisis.

But pointing out that CO2 emissions dropped 20.7% from fiscal 2013, industry minister Yasutoshi Nishimura said, “Japan is heading for the government’s goal of reducing the emissions by 46% by fiscal 2030.”