1. Decarbonization policies of Japan
Japan is one of the countries which have committed to Net Zero 2050. In October 2020, then prime minister Yoshihide Suga declared Net Zero 2050. In April 2021, during the "Leaders Summit on Climate” hosted by the US, Japan also declared that Japan aims to nearly halve its GHG emissions in 2030. And four major policies related to decarbonization were accordingly released in October 2021.
- Japan's NDC
- Japan's Long-term Strategy under the Paris Agreement
- The Plan for Global Warming Countermeasures
- The Sixth Strategic Energy Plan
They also decided to stipulate the "decarbonized society by 2050" in the law this coming April 2022. We need to achieve Net Zero 2050 not only diplomatically but also legally.
Fig 1. Development in Japan’s decarbonization policies
Fig 2. Japan’s CO2 emissions and the path towards 2030 and 2050
Japan's NDC sets the 2030 - 2050 decarbonization targets mentioned above.
Japan's Long-term Strategy under the Paris Agreement states that heat pumps would be a relevant option for decarbonizing low-temperature heat demand in the industry sector. Also in the building sector, heat pumps are recognized not only as energy efficiency solution but also as the technology for sector coupling and flexibility.
Japan's Long-term Strategy under the Paris Agreement
- Industry: “For the heat demand in low-temperature such as steam and hot water, utilizing electrification technologies including heat pumps and electric heating wires would be a relevant option for decarbonization.”
- Building: “…, the Government aims to achieve the sector coupling of electricity, heat, and mobility in general, using electrified vehicles, heat pump-type water heaters fuel cells and cogeneration, …”, “… improvement of heat energy efficiency such as heat pump.”, “The Government will also look into the potential flexibility of heat storage type air-conditioning equipment, heat pump water heaters in facilities with large demand for hot water supply, ”
Fig 3. Heat pumps in Japan's Long-term Strategy under the Paris Agreement
The Plan for Global Warming Countermeasures and the Sixth Strategic Energy Plan, which are in line with each other, have quantitative targets set for industrial heat pumps and commercial and residential heat pump water heaters. The 2030 target for the residential sector was slightly raised this time from 1,400 to 1,590 thousand units in order to achieve the government's more ambitious target, requiring further implementation of these heat pumps.
Fig 4. The quantitative targets set for industrial heat pumps and commercial and residential heat pump water heaters
2. The situation of energy and energy-related policies
Fig 5 shows the energy demand by sector. Energy reduction is required in all sectors to achieve the governmental target.
Fig 6 shows the carbon intensity of electricity generation, which is currently 470 g/kWh. As you see, the carbon intensity surged after 2011 due to the political decision to shut down nuclear power plants after the earthquake. Some of the nuclear power plants have been so far restarted and more and more renewable energy are being installed, but the carbon intensity of electricity remains higher than it used to be. But, as you can see on Fig 7, we are planning to increase non-fossil fuel electricity up to 60%, including 36 to 38 % of renewables and 20 to 22 % of nuclear power. So, we are expecting the decrease in the carbon intensity in the future.
Fig 5. Energy demand by sector
Fig 6. Carbon intensity of electricity generation
Fig 7. Electricity mix towards 2030
This article has described the outline of Japan’s decarbonization policies and the situation of energy and energy-related policies. Heat pumps are recognized as a key technology to the decarbonization of our country. Together with cleaner electricity, heat pump will continue to play an indispensable role towards decarbonization. The next article will elaborate Japan’s energy-related policies, heat pump market and R&D projects.
- Japan’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC): UNFCCC
- Japan's Long-term Strategy under the Paris Agreement: UNFCCC
- Plan for Global Warming Countermeasures: MOEJ
- Japan’s commitment: “Climate Actions towards net-zero by 2050”, MOEJ
- Energy demand by sector: METI
- Electricity mix towards 2030: METI