For Japan to realise a 1.5°C compatible pathway, it is critical that the country decarbonise its power sector and at the same time, electrify end-use sectors.
A paradigm shift in the power sector to a 51-84% share of renewables by 2030 could catalyse a transition to a 1.5°C emissions pathway. A share of at least 60% would need to be aimed at in order to avoid reliance on nuclear energy nor fossil fuels with CCS
Under 1.5°C compatible pathways, coal, which accounted for 34% of Japan’s power generation in 2017, would need to be phased out from around 2031. This means any coal plant built now risks becoming a stranded asset within a decade. Gas, which accounted for 39% of generation in 2017, would need to be phased out in 2038, and the power sector would need to reach net zero emissions intensity by 2040.
In addition to energy efficiency measures, technologies most readily available to Japan to facilitate this acceleration are solar PV on buildings and offshore wind, paired with geothermal and hydropower. Paired with electrification, e.g. in transport, as envisaged by regulations now in preparation, this decarbonisation in the power sector will drive emissions reductions across large sections of the economy.