Japan Stalls as Renewable Energy Accounts For Only 25% of Power Output

Renewable energy sources accounted for 25% of Japan’s overall electricity output in 2023, a figure dwarfed by the shares of some European countries, which topped 80%.

Preliminary figures by the Tokyo-based Institute for Sustainable Energy Polices (ISEP) found that the share of renewables more than doubled from about 10% in fiscal 2011, prior to the start of the feed-in-tariff system introduced in 2012 to promote clean energy, the Asahi Shimbun reports.

Chief researcher at ISEP responsible for the study Hironao Matsubara, said the gap between Japan and EU countries was widening.

“Back in 2000 or so, there was not a big disparity between Japan and Europe,” Matsubara said. “But Japan has been far left behind since because Europe moved to build a system and market to cover more than half of its energy needs with solar and wind power.”

ISEP calculated the ratio of individual energy sources based on statistics on power supply and demand compiled by the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy and other relevant data, including the amount of electricity generated for household use.

The findings, which were released on June 10, showed that renewable energy sources represented 25.7% of the total output, up by 3% points from 2022.

Of the renewables, solar accounted for 11.2%, hydro-power 7.5% and biomass 5.7%. The share of wind power finally reached 1%, which is negligible given that wind power is a major supplier among renewables in the global market. In Japan, solar and wind power represented half of all the electricity generated by renewable sources.

As for other energy sources in Japan, thermal power stood at 66.6%, down by 5.8 points from the previous year, while coal fired power came in at 28.3%, an increase of 0.5 points from the previous year. Nuclear energy’s share came to 7.7%, the highest since the 2011 Fukushima nuclear collapse.