Tokyo, Sept. 18 (Jiji Press)–Japan’s Environment Ministry will ramp up support for local governments promising to become “zero-carbon cities,” or achieve net-zero carbon dioxide emissions, by 2050, Jiji Press has learned.
The ministry will give priority in aid to local governments seeking to develop human resources for establishing new power companies and introducing power grids that can become self-sufficient, informed sources said.
Tens of billions of yen will be earmarked for the measure in the ministry’s budget request for fiscal 2021.
Yamanashi Prefecture, Tokyo and the cities of Kyoto and Yokohama were initially the only local governments that declared the aim of lowering their net CO2 emissions to zero by 2050.
The number spiked after Environment Minister Shinjiro Koizumi called on local governments nationwide to take part.
As of Wednesday, 153 local governments, including 21 prefectures, had made a carbon neutrality declaration. Their total populations exceed 70 million.
But specific steps taken by many local bodies have been limited largely to energy-saving measures. How to help them take additional measures is a major problem.
From fiscal 2021, the ministry will prioritize municipalities declaring to be zero-carbon cities when extending fresh assistance in introducing renewable energy sources.
Specifically, the ministry plans to promote the introduction of power grids that can become self-sufficient in times of large-scale outages of power supply from major utilities during natural disasters.
The ministry will subsidize part of the costs to introduce renewable energy power generation facilities, batteries and dedicated power lines.
It will also help municipalities and local companies develop talent so that they can launch power companies using local renewable energy sources.
The ministry hopes to dispatch experts in operating power utilities and host training sessions to help local governments learn how to create environmentally sustainable business models and find new clients, the sources said.