Data Hub

Japan’s energy landscape

 1 August, 2017

Japan, the world's third-largest economy, is most reliant on petroleum and other liquids to meet its energy needs, followed by coal, natural gas and hydro.

Other renewable sources of energy as well as nuclear have a very limited role in the country’s energy mix. As per the latest data, petroleum and other products have a 42 per cent share in the country’s energy mix, while coal, natural gas and hydro have 27 per cent, 23 per cent and five per cent respectively.

Japan’s energy fuel mix changed after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear incident as natural gas, oil, and renewable energy began providing larger shares and supplanting some of the nuclear fuel, as per the EIA International Energy Statistics. Till 2010, Japan had generated 30 per cent of its electrical power from nuclear energy but now nuclear energy generates less than one per cent of Japan’s electricity, according to the World Nuclear Association, UK. Adoption of renewable energy (beyond hydro) in the country started in a big way after the Fukushima disaster.

When it comes to electricity generation, 29.3% electricity was generated by natural gas in 2010. In 2015, natural gas generated 44% of electricity in Japan. The use of coal in electricity generation has also increased after the Fukushima disaster. Today 31.6% of electricity in Japan is generated with the help of coal.

As statistics show, the Fukushima disaster started a massive backlash against nuclear energy in Japan, which led to boosting of renewable energy sources.

Meanwhile, the consumption of oil is also declining in Japan, and trends indicate that it will keep falling further.  While in 2005, oil consumption stood at 247.2 million tonnes, in 2010 it fell to 202.7 million tonnes. Again by 2015, the figure further came down to 189.6 million tonnes, which has been the lowest recorded since 2005, as per the BP Statistical Review of World Energy, 2015.

In contract, Japan is witnessing rising demand of natural gas which is being mostly met by greater imports. To meet its consumption demand, Japan’s long term strategy is to establish an international LNG hub in the country.

In 2005, the consumption of natural gas stood at 78.6 billion cubic metres,  in 2010 it stood at 94.5 billion cubic metres and in 2015 the consumption of natural gas was 113.4 billion cubic metres, which was slightly lower than in 2012 and 2013 of 116.9 billion cubic metres. This is according to figures released by the BP Statistical Review of World Energy, 2015.

When it comes to using the cheapest but dirtiest fossil fuel coal, Japan seems to be ramping up coal imports to a record. Figures by BP Statistical Review of World Energy, 2016 reveal that in 2005, Japan’s coal imports were 114 million tonnes oil equivalent, later increasing to 115.7million tonnes oil equivalent in 2010.

The upward trend continued with consumption of coal standing at 119.4 million tonnes oil equivalent in 2015, which was slightly lower than the highest recorded figures of 120.7 million tonnes oil equivalent in 2013.



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