On Friday, Japan announced a proposal to achieve its target of net-zero greenhouse emissions by the year 2050, which calls for tripling the share of energy production by renewables to a minimum of 50%. The government forecasts that such a “green growth strategy” would have an economic impact of $1.83 trillion in that year. In 14 main areas, like hydrogen as well as offshore wind, the path map lists problems and solutions. In addition, it advocates for overall zero net pollution from new buildings and home construction by the year 2030 and an end to the sales of new petrol-only cars by the mid of the decade.
The expected transition across the Japanese economy from fossil fuels to electricity is intended to raise electricity demand between 30 percent and 50 percent. This makes it an essential step in the initiative to end the dependency of power utilities on coal-fired power stations and dramatically increase renewables’ use. Decarbonization priority “is not a limitation on development,” Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga informed a news-press conference on Friday. The investment would create a new economic activity to meet the carbon goals, in turn encouraging more investment and generating a virtuous circle, he concluded.
By 2040, the government aims to expand Japan’s now-minimal offshore wind power to as much as 45 gigawatts—exceeding clean energy pioneer Germany. The development plan also sets a goal of consuming hydrogen amounting to 20 million tons in 2050, with 20 percent of Japan’s electricity being produced by thermal power stations that are using clean-burning fuel. It would be essential to get the price of hydrogen that is now often as costly as natural gas downward to competitive levels by rising demand. With other big European economies as the U.K., Germany, Tokyo is playing catch-up as well as Spain, which obtains approximately 40% of its electricity from renewables.
Given such disadvantages as a shortage of available land, the target of 50 percent to 60 percent is often seen as mostly what Japan can feasibly accomplish. Another main focus of the initiative is cars — like low-cost minicars. Japan has been a global leader in traditional gasoline-fueled vehicles for a long period. It will undoubtedly take some time to shift to green technologies.” I cannot see this being accomplished without revolutionary technological innovation,” stated Akio Toyoda, who serves as the chairman of the Japan Car Manufacturers Association as well as president of the Toyota Motor. “But we could potentially lose our global competitiveness without interventions throughout the distribution chain.”