Koizumi ups climate ante with goal of 40 percent renewable power

Nikkei -- Dec 17
Japan's environment minister has proposed increasing renewable power sources to more than 40 percent of the nation's energy mix by fiscal 2030, about twice the government's current goal.
"These 10 years will decide whether we can achieve carbon neutrality by 2050," Shinjiro Koizumi told reporters Tuesday, referring to Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga's goal of reaching net zero emission of carbon dioxide. Renewables accounted for 18% of energy consumed in Japan in fiscal 2019, around half as much as in major European economies. Japan's current renewables target stands between 22% and 24% by fiscal 2030. But the National Governors Association has pushed for a goal of more than 40% by 2030, and a growing number companies are planning to switch entirely to renewable power. "There's been a rallying cry from the demand side," Koizumi said. The new 40% proposal for renewable energy is seen as crucial for testing Japan's commitment to the 2050 target. "We will work with partners like the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry to increase the share of renewables in our energy mix," Koizumi said Tuesday. Koizumi's announcement may also be an attempt to demonstrate his clout in the government as a whole. However, the response from within the economy ministry -- which has sway over the electric power sector -- is mixed. While the ministry supports maximizing renewables, Japan does not have much flat land or shallow seas suited for solar and wind farms. Questions also remain regarding the potential costs to the public. - Nikkei