Japan’s renewable energy generation is overwhelmingly water power
Japan to reverse decline of renewable energy. The ratio of renewable power generation has decreased from 25% of total electricity generation in 1970 to 10% today. Extremely aggressive feed-in tariffs (FIT) for renewable energy introduced in July 2012 are showing first modest results to reverse this trend – initially solar energy projects dominate FIT projects, since solar projects are fastest to build. Larger projects, such as off-shore wind power, or geo-thermal projects, take a very much longer time to plan and build – on the order of 10 years or longer. More below and in our report on “Renewable energy in Japan”.
Japan’s ratio of electricity generation from renewable resources has dropped from 25% to 10% over the period 1970-2012
Over the years, electricity generation from nuclear and thermal sources has grown much faster than from renewable sources in Japan. As a result, electricity generation from renewable resources has dropped from around 25% in 1970 to around 10% in 2012. In 2012, Japan’s Government and industry associations have announced aggressive plans to reverse this trend
Water power dominates renewable energy in Japan
This figure shows all electricity generation in Japan from renewable sources: Japan currently relies overwhelmingly on water power for renewable energy, which varies between 5% of total electricity in winter and around 12%-15% of total in summer, with an overall decrease since 2006. The figure shows that other renewable energy sources (wind, solar, geo-thermal and bio-mass) are still in the very early stages of development.
More details in our report on “Renewable energy in Japan”
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Japan replaced almost all nuclear energy with liquid natural gas imports
Increased LNG import costs due to declining yen
Japan gas imports: Japan replaced almost all nuclear energy with liquid natural gas imports at very short notice. Japan pays far higher costs for liquid natural gas imports than most other regions in the world (find a detailed explanation why this is so, and how Japan’s LNG import prices are composed, in our J-Energy report). ‘Abenomics’ (Prime Minister Abe’s economy policy package) have increased the costs of imports further due a decline in the value of the yen.
Consequently, Japan makes all out efforts to find the optimal energy mix, in particular searching for domestic sources of energy including renewables, and reducing the cost of imports. More below.
Japan gas imports: 77.5% cost increase since January 2011
Reason for this increase are increased import quantities, the very high prices Japan is forced to pay for gas imports, and the decrease of the value of the YEN due to ‘Abenomics’. These very high costs drive all-out efforts to secure new sources of natural gas to reduce costs, and also drive the sofar neglected development of renewable energy sources in Japan.
Primary energy imports are a very substantial part (about 7% currently) of Japan’s GNP, and have increased by 34% in January 2013 compared to January 2011
However, the figure above shows that current monthly costs of primary energy imports are below the peak just before the Lehman shock. Thus Japan’s primary energy costs are currently very substantial but not without precedent.
Detailed energy import data, including detailed analysis why Japan’s LNG import costs are so much higher than elsewhere, in our report on Japan’s Energy Landscape
Descent into crisis of Japan’s electricity operators started in 2007:
Figure above clearly shows that the decent of Japan’s electricity operators started years before the Fukushima nuclear disaster. Therefore we conclude that restarting the nuclear reactors alone will not cure the crisis of Japan’s electricity operators, which for many years have enjoyed a monopoly position, and are now increasingly under attack by competitors including Japan’s very successful gas companies.
We added approx. 50 pages analysis of Japan’s gas sector to our Japan-Energy-Report.