Japan will aim to speed up the start-up of operations of some new offshore wind power plants, as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has prompted the resource-poor country to review its heavy reliance on energy imports, it said. the government announced on Friday.
Japanese Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Koichi Hagiuda speaks during a press conference at his ministry in Tokyo on March 18, 2022. (Kyodo)
Government permit criteria for companies wishing to use marine areas to produce offshore wind energy will be reviewed so that companies that can start sooner rather than later are better assessed, according to the Ministry of Economy, Development Commerce and Industry.
“Following the situation in Ukraine, we face an urgent need to accelerate the introduction of renewable energy as a local energy source towards decarbonisation. This is also vital to ensure energy security,” said Industry Minister Koichi Hagiuda at a press conference. .
In December, a group led by trading house Mitsubishi Corp. won the right to use three marine areas, near Tokyo and in northeast Japan, with its popular low-cost electricity supply plan. The group aims to start its activities in 2028.
However, some of the companies that lost in the bidding process complained that the criteria were too cost-focused.
A ministerial council will begin specific discussions on how to revise the selection criteria next week, Hagiuda added.
Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, which began on February 24, has led Western countries to ban or reduce imports of Russian crude oil and other fossil fuels as part of economic sanctions against Russia. These measures caused a spike in energy prices.
Japan, however, remained cautious about joining the West as it encouraged energy imports from Russia given its geographical proximity and the need to decentralize sources of supply. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said ensuring a stable energy supply is a “national interest”.
Russia accounted for 3.6% of Japan’s crude oil imports and 8.8% of its liquefied natural gas imports in 2021, according to data from the Japan External Trade Organization.
Japan’s 2019 Renewable Energy Use of the Oceans Act allows wind power operators to use designated marine areas for up to 30 years.
Last October, the government approved its energy plan, a roadmap towards a goal of carbon neutrality by 2050, positioning offshore wind as a driver of renewable energy.
Under the energy plan, Japan has set a goal of having renewable energy account for 36-38% of the nation’s total power generation capacity in fiscal 2030, more than double. of the 18% recorded during the 2019 financial year which ended in March 2020.