Can Japan Improve on its INDC-based Target for CO2 Intensity in the Electricity Sector? Estimation of Renewable Electricity and Nuclear Power in 2030

Working Paper

This paper assesses the potential for improving the CO2 intensity of Japan’s electricity sector—the units of carbon dioxide emitted per units of electricity generated—by examining the potential for the feasibility of restarting nuclear power plants and increasing renewable electricity generation by 2030. The analysis shows that, utilizing these two strategies, it is possible to achieve the intensity that can be calculated from the emissions intensity of fossil-fuel power technology and the energy mix of Japan’s Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC), and to exceed the voluntary emissions-intensity target announced by Japan’s electricity companies, under the current level of investment in electricity grid facilities. The paper focuses only on the energy mix in the generation projected for 2030, using total electricity generation estimates in the INDC and electricity demand estimates from the Long-term Energy Supply and Demand Outlook.

Key Findings
---- On the assumption that the interconnection capacity of the current grid, comprising ten separate electricity systems, remains unchanged, the CO2 intensity of the electricity sector could be reduced to 0.36 kgCO2/kWh. This would be achieved through 334 TWh generated from renewable energy sources (representing about 40 percent of Japan’s total renewable
electricity potential) and 130 TWh from nuclear power (Scenario A). Adding 46 TWh of offshore wind power would further reduce the intensity to 0.34 kgCO2 /kWh.

---The electricity sector emissions intensity of 0.36 kgCO2 /kWh is equal to the intensity that can be calculated to result from the emissions intensity of fossil-fuel power technology and the energy mix that is targeted in Japan’s Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC). This is slightly lower than the voluntary emission intensity target put forward by electricity power companies, which is 0.37 kgCO2 /kWh.

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