The world’s largest importer of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and one of the biggest importers of coal, Japan, aims to significantly raise the share of renewable power in its electricity sector and reduce its reliance on fossil fuels, according to a draft energy policy plan through 2030.
Japan, like many other developed nations, aims to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, or as Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI) said last month “a carbon neutral society by 2050.”
Under the draft new policy, Japan will target to have renewable energy sources make up between 36 percent and 38 percent of the country’s power generation by the end of this decade. The previous target was to have renewable energy generate between 22 percent and 24 percent of Japan’s electricity mix by 2030.
The new plan hasn’t changed the target for nuclear power generation, which was left at 20-22 percent of electricity generation. But the share of coal is now targeted to drop to 19 percent by 2030, from 26 percent now, while the share of LNG is planned to decline to 41 percent from 56 percent.
The world’s top LNG importer aiming to reduce the use of the super-chilled fuel for power generation is likely to rattle the market.
According to estimates from Lloyd’s List Intelligence, Japan was the single largest importer of LNG in the world in the first half of 2021, holding a 20.49-percent share of all LNG imports globally. To compare, all 27 members of the European Union (EU), plus the UK, combined, accounted for 20.94 percent of global LNG imports.
The fastest-growing market for LNG, China—which is expected to soon surpass Japan as the largest LNG importer—accounted for 18.22 percent of LNG imports in the first half this year, Lloyd’s List Intelligence data showed.
Reduced future use of coal and LNG in Japan is set to create disturbances in the Asian markets of those fossil fuels, especially for Australia, which supplies two-thirds of Japan’s thermal coal and is Japan’s top LNG supplier, too, Reuters columnist Clyde Russell notes.