- Japan does not need 20 million tons of hydrogen to meet its decarbonization targets by 2050, says BloombergNEF
- It can instead accelerate the development of mature technologies as wind, solar and EVs to achieve the ambition
- Under BloombergNEF’s NZS, Japan can host a combined 689 GW of wind and solar power capacity by 2050, up from 81 GW in 2021
- Backed by 11% nuclear power and rest by other technologies, wind and solar will account for 79% of the national power mix by target year under NZS
With very little help from clean hydrogen, Japan can easily decarbonize its power supply by 2050, achieving the targeted net zero status by accelerating the deployment of mature clean technologies as solar, wind and electric vehicles (EV), says Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BloombergNEF) in a new report.
Japan’s official goal is to hit net zero by 2050, and is driven in part by private companies, utilities, financial institutions having their own net zero targets. However, BloombergNEF analysts argue that the country is not on track to meet its 2030 emission reduction goal, nor the 2050 net zero goal.
The base-case Economic Transition Scenario (ETS) in BloombergNEF’s New Energy Outlook: Japan report finds solar and wind becoming the dominant source of electricity supply in the country, accounting for 62% of electricity generated in 2050.
However, the report’s Net Zero Scenario (NZS) for 2050 believes Japan can achieve 689 GW of total installed capacity of wind and solar power by 2050, up from 81 GW as of 2021. By 2050, these 2 renewable energy generation sources will likely represent 79% of the country’s total electricity supply, with nuclear power providing the remaining 11%. Hydro, geothermal and thermal power plants equipped with carbon capture and storage (CCS) will meet the rest of the demand.
Analysts factor in a little over 7 million tons of hydrogen for Japan under the NZS, as against the government target of 20 million tons by 2050. According to them Japan should reform its generous yet inefficient hydrogen subsidies.
“As Japan’s supply of clean hydrogen will be limited due to its geography, the government should prioritize sectors where clean hydrogen will be the most effective decarbonization pathway,” explained Japan Associate at BNEF, Toshiya Shinagawa.
The shift won’t be cheap though. Japan would need to spend $115 billion annually on average or $3.2 trillion over 2022 to 2050 under ETS. This increases to around $6.7 trillion during the same time period with an average of $239 billion spent annually under the NZS.
“Fossil-fuel power generation accounts for more than 70% of Japan’s electricity generation today,” said Japan Senior Associate at BNEF, Isshu Kikuma. “Instead of pursuing costly unproven approaches such as retrofitting existing coal power plants for co-firing with ammonia, Japan would be better served accelerating the deployment of geothermal, solar and wind.”
BloombergNEF recommends the country to speed up deployment rates for wind and solar mainly by:
- easing and simplifying lengthy permitting procedures
- local government-led auctions with guaranteed access to land, or the seabed for offshore wind, and grid connections, along with
- increasing the transparency of grid connection processes.
Recently, Japan concluded its 16th solar auction in an oversubscribed auction and plans to hold another round within this year (see High Demand In 16th Japanese Solar Auction).