New energy sources to provide 3% of Japan’s energy supply by 2010

The basic objectives of Japan’s energy policy are to achieve economic growth, energy security and environmental protection. In achieving these it is important to maintain a balance between energy supply and demand – we have to promote energy conservation measures and allow them to take root among consumers and, at the same time, we have to facilitate the introduction of non-fossil energy sources.

Of the non-fossil energy sources available, those that are renewable place little burden on the environment and are subject to few constraints in terms of resources. These are expected to be the most useful in meeting future energy demand so Japan plans to accelerate the uptake of these renewable energy sources.

In Japan, renewable energy sources, apart from hydro power and geothermal energy, are called “new energy sources” and are not yet in widespread use, accounting for just over 1% of our primary energy supply. In the long run, however, they are very promising. The Japanese Government’s aim is for new energy sources to provide 3% of total primary energy supply by 2010.

NEDO, Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organisation, has been serving as the focus for achieving the above objectives through encouraging the development of various new energy technologies and financially supporting businesses willing to adopt such technologies. Some success is already apparent, and the uptake of several new energy sources, mainly wind and solar (photovoltaics), is growing. This success has been achieved through several factors, including changes to the electricity market allowing utilities to buy power from new energy sources. Reductions in the cost of generating power from these sources, as a result of research and development, have also helped towards the growth in uptake.

To accelerate this process still further, the Japanese Government has formed committees to discuss the long-term future of new energy introduction and to identify the additional measures necessary to further encourage its wider use. Following these discussions, NEDO intends to continue in its essential role as the focus for encouraging the use of new energy sources in Japan.

Since the introduction of new energy sources is a global issue, the distribution and proliferation of high-quality information on new energy technologies are critical in effectively fostering their development and introduction to the marketplace. We believe that information found in every CADDET product, including this newsletter, which represents selected information gathered and provided by CADDET member organisations worldwide, is really useful for research institutes looking at new energy sources, and for organisations or policymakers considering the introduction of new energy sources all over the world.

Mr Takashi Yonehara,
NEDO Information
Centre, Japan