EU renewables plan highlights Japan’s weak targets as G7 energy meeting kicks off


The EU plans to switch to renewables more than twice as fast as Japan by 2030, according to a new analysis published by a global energy think tank ember ahead of the meeting of G7 environment, climate and energy ministers, which starts today in Berlin. Ministers will decide if and how G7 countries will commit to clean energy by 2035.

Over the next eight years, the EU plans to shift 32% of its total electricity generation to renewables, while Japan plans to shift just 13% of its own electricity supply.

Europe’s turn will allow it to save 100 billion euros annually on gas, oil and coal imports and reduce Russian gas consumption by two-thirds by the end of 2022.


Rooftop solar, the foundation of the EU plan, will account for more than half of its total solar capacity by 2030. This is due to new legislation to make solar panels compulsory for all buildings public and new residential buildings by 2025 and 2029, respectively. In total, the EU plans an additional 750 gigawatts GW of solar electricity by 2030.

In Japan, solar power has seen significant growth over the past decade, but rooftop solar only accounted for 10% of the country’s solar installations last year. This highlights not only a key difference between the two energy plans, but also an opportunity for Japan to further expand rooftop solar capacity.

Offshore wind

Regarding offshore wind energy, the Executive Director of the International Energy Agency, Fatih Birol, believes that Japan could become a “world leader” in the offshore wind industry, but its current plan is to develop only 10 GW by 2030.

This is in stark contrast to Belgium, Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands, which last week announced an offshore wind target of 65 GW by 2030, and the UK alone plans to develop 50 GW. by 2030.

Read more: Four EU countries have set a massive offshore wind energy target of 65 GW by 2030

Together, it is more than 10 times Japan’s current 10 GW target announcement in 2020.

EU vs Japan

Source: ember

The EU currently produces 19% of its electricity from wind and solar energy. Thanks to the REpowerEU plan, the EU is expected to shift an additional third (32%) of its total electricity production to renewables. This will enable the EU to achieve a more than 80% clean electricity system by 2030 and put it on track to achieve a 100% clean electricity system by 2035.

By contrast, Japan currently generates 11% of its electricity from renewables and plans to switch just another 13% of its electricity to renewables over the next eight years.

Dave Jones, Head of Global Programs at Ember, said:

Solar and wind are currently playing cameo roles in the Japanese power system, but they are poised to step in to take on the leading role. Record fossil fuel prices and the need to reduce imports from Russia should be a wake-up call. Japan needs more local clean energy; Japan needs more ambition in solar and wind energy.

Photo: “Solar Panels at Sunset” by kaeru.mon is licensed under DC BY 2.0

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