Solar energy, energy storage and virtual power plants in Japan (Minerva Fellowship)

Potential Opportunities of Collaboration between Japanese and European Firms

By Jonathan Arias in the framework of the Minerva Fellowship Programme.

In the COP21 held in Paris in December 2015, participating countries agreed to combat the climate change by reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by half by 2050, in order to keep the global warming under two degrees Celsius. Meeting this difficult target requires to make renewable energies the main source of power generation and move towards electric vehicles since the transport sector accounts for 23% of global GHG emissions. But it is also essential to reduce the primary energy consumption by means of increasing energy conservation and energy efficiency.

After the adoption of the Paris Agreement, Japan announced its intention to reduce GHG emissions by 26% by 2030 compared to 2013 in July 2015. Furthermore, in May 2016, the Plan for Global Warming Countermeasures established a long-term goal of an 80% reduction by 2050. The transportation sector contributed with 19% to entire CO2 emissions in Japan in 2015, and the government target is to reduce it by 25% by 2030 increasing the popularization of the next-generation vehicles, and reaching an electric vehicles’ share in the new car sales of 20%-30% by 2030.


Japan was considered one of the more energy-efficient economies in the world, but exceptional energy efficiency and conservation efforts greatly helped Japan to deal with the energy emergency resulted after the Great East Japan Earthquake, and it has achieved to maintain these improvements after that through behavior change and policy measures. However, more efforts are needed in the residential and commercial sectors (demand side), in which GHG emissions have to be reduced by 39% and 40% respectively by 2030 compared to the levels in 2013.

Additional document: the recorded session of the webinar held on the 18th of January 2019.

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