Japan plans to get at least 36% to 38% of its electricity needs from fully renewable sources by 2030. The new climate goals were presented by the nation's industry ministry Thursday as part of an updated energy plan.
The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry presented the new plan to the energy advisory committee. The target represents an increase from the previous goal of having renewable energy account for 22% to 24% of the nation's energy consumption by fiscal 2030.
According to the ministry, renewable energy currently accounts for about 20% of Japan's electricity. The ministry said it hopes to gain cabinet approval for the updated plan by October.
Japan hopes to catch up with other advanced economies with its updated energy plan. The ministry said there is now a growing international momentum to fight against climate change and Japan needs to be a part of it. The United Nations recently urged developed nations to phase out coal and seek renewable alternatives to help meet the goal set under the 2015 Paris Climate Accord.
Compared with other developed countries, Japan has been left behind in the global effort to cut carbon emissions. Japan still relies heavily on coal, which makes up about 32% of its electricity mix. Its dependency on coal increased after it was forced to idle several nuclear power plans after the 2011 Fukushima disaster.
According to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, they plan to reduce that dependency to about 19% by fiscal 2030. The Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan said they plan to use new technologies to reduce emissions to about 0.26 kilograms of carbon dioxide per 1 Kilowatt by 2030. The plan is part of Japan's pledge in April to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 46% by the end of the decade.
Analysts said while the plan may look good on paper, Japan still has to figure out how it can achieve its goals. Getting to the 36-38% range will be an uphill climb for the country, which is still reluctant to tap into nuclear power. Analysts said Japan needs to have a clear initiative on energy policies and it needs to make large-scale investments toward decarbonization.