Japan Overhauls its Energy Plans for the Future

Published Date : Oct 21, 2014

The 2011 nuclear disaster at Japan’s Fukushima plant has made the general sentiment in the country wary of any energy movement. This has made the future of energy in Japan quite uncertain. The unsupportive sentiment has also stymied government’s efforts of restarting 48 nuclear reactors, which has further added to the energy insecurity. In light of these disasters, Japan is planning on creating an energy mix which no longer depends on nuclear power.

The other factor in support of this changed perspective towards energy is the country’s geology that is prone to earthquake. In addition to Nuclear Regulation Authority’s (NRA) strict measures about safety at nuclear plants, the country has also its set of sophisticated equipment for determining impending geological upheavals such as volcanic eruptions and earthquakes. However, the inability to predict the disaster of Mount Ontake on September 27 shed light on the limited scope of these systems. 

Owing to these recent developments, Japan is taking a two pronged approach in dealing with the situation. The first one is to diversify sourcing of LNG over a period of short to medium while working on ways in making efficient use of renewable energy. Though LNG holds a great chunk in Japan’s energy mix, the country wants to bring down its dependence on Middle East and instead try Australia and North America for cheaper supplies. 

Japan also plans to bring in about 70% of LNG from these sources by 2020. It aims to touch a mark of 40% supply from Australia, as it is helping the southern country in developing the fields. The remainder 30% will be sourced from Canada and U.S. This move is imperative for Japan as it will cut down the import costs due to geographical proximity of these stable countries along with the cost of imports being 20% lesser than its present LNG import.