The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) will create a new procurement mechanism to encourage companies to use renewable energy such as solar and wind power. At present purchases of power from distantly located power plants must be made through retailers. METI will relax this rule to reduce procurement costs and promote the use of renewable energy.
METI aims to revise the Electricity Business Act by the summer of 2021. The Japanese government has decided on a 46% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions compared with FY2013 figures by 2030, aiming for effectively zero emissions by 2050. The expanded use of renewable energy will be crucial to realize this goal, since difficulties are anticipated in the resumption of nuclear power plants.
There are restrictions on corporate procurement of renewable energy under the current act. Companies cannot freely purchase power from power generation facilities located far away from their headquarters or factories. In such situations, companies are currently required to purchase power through retailers or from affiliates in the same corporate group.
Companies had been calling for the rules to be changed, In a government survey, the Sony Group noted that direct procurement from power generation facilities would be an “effective way to diversify procurement methods.” The Sony Group aims to shift to renewable sources for all of its energy needs by FY2040. (Abridged)