The reason I want to join the LKYSPP Japan Trip 2014 is because I am very interested in the Japan’s policy on energy security after the Fukushima’s meltdown.
The Fukushima meltdown has created a dramatic influence on Japan’s energy policy. After the accident, the government decided to halt the operation of all the 50 nuclear power plants in Japan. It is a significant decision because nuclear generation was provided about one third of Japan’s energy need. Before the Fukushima, the country even formulated national plan to push nuclear contribution to 50 % by 2030 of the total energy mix in Japan. However, the earthquake on April 2011, which followed by huge tsunami that hit Fukushima nuclear power plant had changed the landscape of Japan’s future energy scenario. The strong public opposition against nuclear power plant had pushed the government to change the policy in the energy sector.
However, the problem is still remained. The decision to halt the operation of nuclear power plants has been driving up the amount of imports of hydrocarbon, especially for coal and natural gas. Consequently, Japan is becoming more dependence on foreign countries to fulfill its energy needs. Japan is also lowering its greenhouse emissions limits to adapt to the new burning record of thermal coal, which cause a new environmental concern especially in relation with the issue of climate change.
Alternative solutions: demand side and supply side
After the Fukushima disaster, Japan faces a huge challenge to reach sustainable energy security right. The decision to halt the operational of nuclear power plants has created a very difficult situation for policy makers in energy sector. However, the difficult challenge may possibly create a new opportunity for Japan to innovate and to solve the problem with creative solutions.
There are several alternatives that Japan may consider to solve its energy challenges:
A. Supply side
1. In the short and medium term, the Japanese government should consider the option to activate the nuclear power plants again. In fact, Japan has been activating two nuclear power plants since July 2013. In the future, the government should implement stronger safety procedures for nuclear generations. The fact that Onagawa and Daini nuclear power plant survived the April 2011 tsunami shows that stronger safety measures could prevent the risk of meltdown in nuclear generation when facing natural disasters. However, the government should only activate the nuclear generations that already fulfilled the latest safety requirements.
2. Japan should focus to develop its potential on renewable energy. For example, Japan has huge potential in geothermal energy. From the total of 19.14 GW potential in geothermal, Japan has only installed 532 MW. Meanwhile, Japan also huge potentials in offshore wind as Japan has the longest coastlines of any countries in the world. Other renewable sources such as hydro, solar cell and biomass also have great potentials to be...