A huge amount of money is required for capital investment and research and development for the realization of a carbon-free society. It is important to formulate strategies that will motivate companies to invest and lead to the growth of the Japanese economy.
The government has announced an interim reorganization of the “Clean Energy Strategy.” Prime Minister Kishida had instructed the formulation of measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to virtually zero in 2050. The policy is to put together a strategy by the end of the year.
In the interim reorganization, a trial calculation of the amount of public and private investment to promote decarbonization was shown. It is said that it will cost a total of 150 trillion yen in 10 years until the mid-30s. As of 30 years, 17 trillion yen will be required annually, which is at least three times the current level.
There are a wide variety of investment targets. In the expected fields, it is expected to be 2 trillion yen for renewable energy equipment such as solar power generation, 300 billion yen for the hydrogen / ammonia supply network that does not emit greenhouse gases when burned, and 600 billion yen for the construction of a storage battery factory.
However, the interim arrangement is limited to arranging the estimated amount and the issues. I would like you to specify specific measures to encourage companies to invest.
For example, hydrogen can be used for thermal power generation, but its manufacturing cost is significantly higher than existing fuels such as natural gas. It is said that there are still problems with profitability, and there are many cases where investment is hesitant.
The interim reorganization will consider a system that will focus on initial investment. An effective framework that makes it easy for companies to make investment decisions is essential.
There have been a series of moves to announce huge fiscal spending in the United States, the European Union (EU), China and other parts of the world over decarbonization. Active support from the Government of Japan is desired to keep up with technological development and related businesses.
The interim reorganization clarified the “maximum utilization” of nuclear power generation. However, it is unclear at what pace the restart will proceed.
After the Great East Japan Earthquake, only 10 of the 27 nuclear power plants that had been applied for operation have restarted. The government has set the ratio of nuclear power plants to 20 to 22% of the total power generation in FY2018 in the basic energy plan, but it will be difficult to achieve unless all 27 units are in operation.
Restarting a nuclear power plant that does not emit carbon dioxide will be a viable option to utilize existing facilities. I would like the government to take responsibility and provide a clear path to ensure safety and promote restarts.
In response to the soaring fuel prices due to the crisis in Ukraine, there is a growing movement to launch new nuclear power plants in Europe and elsewhere. Nuclear power is also important in terms of energy security. The Japanese government should not avoid discussions about new expansion.