Hiroshi Sasamata

Author of a new report by consultants ATKearney on Japan’s power generation prospects

“Japan’s current target for its power generation mix in 2030 looks pretty sensible. But the biggest issue is how much of its electricity will actually come from nuclear power.

The government target of a 20-22% share for nuclear by 2030 is much lower than the 30% share it used to provide. But even this target is optimistic. There are several hurdles that nuclear power plants need to overcome to meet that market share.

They first need to be restarted and then operators will need to get regulatory approval to extend their operating lives.  

If Japan can overcome those obstacles we can generate more power without CO2 emissions.

If we are unable to produce enough electricity from nuclear, Japan will need to increase the role of relatively expensive large renewable energy systems and gas-fired power, in order to burn less coal, if it is to achieve its carbon emissions goals.

Wider use of distributed low-carbon power generation systems, such as roof-top solar energy backed by batteries, may become cost-competitive in the longer term.

In such a scenario, gas could play an increasing role because gas-fired power can effectively balance out variable renewable energy supplies.”