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Japan picks 15 priority areas for achieving carbon neutrality

  • December 10, 2020
  • , The Japan News , 5:05 p.m.
  • English Press

In an effort to achieve virtually zero greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2050, the government has designated 15 priority areas, including increasing the capacity of offshore wind power generation to a maximum of 45 million kilowatts by 2040, equivalent to the capacity of 45 nuclear power plants.


The outline of the government’s plan for its “green growth strategy” aimed at achieving carbon neutrality by 2050, which was revealed Wednesday, will be discussed at an inter-ministerial panel of experts. The aim is to finalize the plan at the government’s Committee on the Growth Strategy by the end of this year.


The plan specifies the targets and necessary institutional arrangements for each of the priority areas in three stages: research and development, demonstration, and wide-range implementation.


The government’s current target for the capacity of offshore wind power generation is 10 million kilowatts by 2030, but this will be raised to a level of 30-45 million kilowatts by 2040. This would make Japan’s capacity the second-largest in the world, after those in Europe and China.


There are no manufacturers in Japan that produce the key components for wind power generation. The government aims to foster related companies and increase domestic procurement to 60%, including operation of the facilities, as well as expand local employment.


The government aims to commercialize in the 2030s a floating offshore wind system that can generate power on the sea, eventually exporting the technology to make it a key Japanese industry.


In the field of hydrogen power, the government aims to cut production costs by less than one-fifth by 2050. This would make the costs equivalent to those spent for natural gas-fired thermal power generation, Japan’s key source of energy. It will also work on developing hydrogen-fueled railway cars and steelmaking technology.


Regarding nuclear power, the government will implement thorough safety measures in preparation for the restart of power plants, while at the same time embarking on the development of next-generation technologies such as small nuclear power plants.


The government plans to allocate a ¥2 trillion fund established as part of additional economic stimulus measures and support technological development by the private sector and other entities. In the demonstration stage, the public and private sectors will invest jointly, and public procurement will be used to support demand in the implementation stage.


The plan for the green growth strategy applies not only to energy but also sets targets for areas including agriculture, forestry and fisheries, and housing, hoping to boost the momentum of the entire nation toward decarbonization.

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