Find out how Japan is preparing for the global energy crisis – The European Sting – Critical News & Insights on European Politics, Economy, Foreign Affairs, Business & Technology

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This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Naoko Kutty, Digital Editor, World Economic Forum

  • The global energy crisis is hitting Japan particularly hard because it depends on energy imports.
  • The Japanese government is asking people to conserve energy during peak winter demand periods.
  • Japan is currently reviewing its energy strategy to reduce its dependence on imports.

The global energy crisis is impacting everything from our daily lives to business operations. In Japan, there are growing fears that electricity supply and demand will be tight this winter. As a result, the Japanese government is ask households and businesses across the country to save electricity from December 1 to March 31. Although no quantified targets have been set, it is the first time in seven years that people have been asked to save electricity during the peak winter demand season.


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Reduction of energy consumption

To ensure a stable electricity supply, the “Electricity Supply Reserve Ratio”, which indicates the available supply capacity during expected electricity demand peaks, should be at least 3% and, ideally, from 7 to 8%. This winter, the minimum level of 3% would have been secured nationwide. The government made this energy saving request to prepare for a sudden increase in electricity demand due to a drop in temperature or a drop in supply capacity due to possible problems with generators. . Another factor contributing to the electricity shortage is the tight supply and demand for liquefied natural gas (LNG), which is used as fuel for thermal power plants.

The global energy price spike triggered by Ukraine’s invasion has dealt a particularly severe blow to Japan, which depends on imports for the majority of its energy resources. According to Natural Resources and Energy Agency, Japan’s energy self-sufficiency rate for FY2019 was 12.1%. Among the 36 OECD countries, Japan ranks 35th, a low level.

Comparisons of primary energy self-sufficiency rates of major countries 2019

With skyrocketing electricity bills putting pressure on household and business economic activities, the government has indicated the importance of demand response (DR) as a means of motivating people to save energy. electricity. He set up a support program which awards points to electricity users participating in energy-saving efforts through electric utility DR services. The points, which can be used to pay electricity bills and purchases, are worth JP¥2,000 (approximately $14.00) for individuals and JP¥200,000 (approximately $1,400) for businesses.

In addition, the Natural Resources and Energy Agency has launched a dedicated website on energy saving, by teaching households and businesses how to save electricity. The Electricity forecasts, which uses electricity demand data provided by power companies, is also available on the website. People can check the daily energy consumption and supply of each region of the country at any time.

Urgent need to restructure energy policy

Along with promoting electricity conservation, Prime Minister Kishida has announcement that the country will operate up to nine nuclear power plants this winter. This will ensure the supply of electricity equivalent to approximately 10% of domestic electricity consumption. The nine reactors scheduled to resume operations meet government standards for earthquake, tsunami and anti-terrorism safety.

Although nuclear power generation is one of the most efficient ways to ensure a stable supply of electricity, it also faces challenges such as nuclear safety and waste. To establish energy security, while promoting carbon neutrality, it will be necessary to rebuild the global energy policy, focusing only on accelerating the introduction of renewable energies. Revitalizing national industries, such as shrinking solar panels and storage batteries, and increasing energy self-sufficiency can also be an important factor in turning this crisis into an opportunity.

In April 2023, the G7 meeting of climate, energy and environment ministers will be held in Sapporo. One of the main issues will be the need to strengthen the supply chain for safe, secure and sustainable clean energy. As president, Japan now sees this energy crisis as a long-term challenge, not a seasonal one.


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