Renewable-based decarbonization pathways for Japan

Integration of very large shares of renewables into the Japanese power system and electrification of heat and transport

  • Project Duration: 09/2019 - 09/2020

As part of its commitments under the United Nations Paris Climate Agreement, the Japanese government has adopted a “Long-term Strategy on Climate Change” that seeks to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050 and to achieve net zero emissions “at the earliest possible time in the second half of the century”. Nevertheless, the strategy isnot prescriptive about the way to reach this goal but emphasizes the need for new technologies and “disruptive innovation”. The next Japanese Strategic Energy Plan provides a good opportunity to develop this strategy in more concrete terms, by defining a baseline, sectoral targets and roadmaps. It is also potentially an opportunity to raise the mid- to long-term level of ambition.

Agora Energiewende in partnership with the Renewable Energy Institute are developing a range of detailed energy transition pathways/scenarios for Japan until 2050, in order to better inform ongoing and upcoming policy and expert discussions on this topic. Those pathways will demonstrate how large shares of renewables can be integrated into the power system, and also how renewables-based electrification can contribute to the decarbonization of power, heat and transport systems. Particular attention is given to the mid-term horizon in 2030, to understand how long-term decarbonization commitments (2050) can be translated into short and mid-term priorities (2030).

From an institutional perspective, this project (1) aims at leveraging independent technical expertise on mid-term and long-term energy strategies for Japan, and (2) focuses on identifying relevant knowledge gaps and implementing consistent scenario designs to enable a sustainable dialogue among key Japanese stakeholders. The results of the analysis are intended to support the work of the public authorities in their mid- to-long-term planning. The aim is to enable a resilient transformation of the Japanese energy system, in particular by better assessing the contribution of renewable-based electrification to the long-term decarbonization of the country.

The project is supported by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy on the basis of a decision by the German Bundestag.

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