Japan relying more on renewables, nuclear power for energy: report

Japan has increased its reliance on renewables and nuclear power as it tries to achieve the goal of net-zero emissions by 2050, the government's report on energy supply and demand in fiscal 2021 showed Tuesday.

But carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels for electricity generation and other purposes rose 1.2 percent to 980 million tons from the previous year as the economy recovers from the coronavirus pandemic, marking the first emissions increase in eight years, according to the preliminary report by the industry ministry.

Renewables accounted for 20.3 percent of Japan's electricity generation, up 0.5 percentage point from the previous year, while nuclear power accounted for 6.9 percent, up 3.0 points. The share of thermal power generation excluding biomass decreased 3.5 points to 72.9 percent, according to the report.

Japan has set a target for nuclear power generation to provide 20 to 22 percent of electricity and renewables 36 to 38 percent in fiscal 2030. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said in August the government will take necessary measures to restart nuclear power plants.

"Based on the results in the report, we will continue our study of measures to secure a stable energy supply and promote 'green transformation' toward reaching carbon neutrality," Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura told reporters.

According to the report, Japan's electricity generation increased 3.2 percent from the previous year to over 1.03 trillion kilowatt hours, with the ratio of non-fossil fuel generation rising 3.5 points to 27.1 percent, in the year through March 2022.

Electricity consumption by companies and offices rose 5.5 percent while that of households dropped 6.2 percent as requests to stay home were discontinued amid the recovery from the pandemic.

The country's energy self-sufficiency rate rose 2.1 percentage points from the previous year to 13.4 percent amid an expansion of renewable energy, according to the report.

© Kyodo News