Renewable energy is currently rising in popularity in the 21st century due to the world’s governments intensifying their carbon reduction initiatives. Despite the falling costs of solar and wind power, Japan is falling behind other countries’ renewables initiatives.
For instance, General Electric built the world’s largest wind turbine and demonstrated it in Rotterdam, Netherlands. The turbine can produce enough power for one household for around two days. Meanwhile, the Dogger Bank offshore wind farm, which is under construction, will have 190 turbines and generate 3,600 megawatts.
Thirty years ago, when the offshore wind farm was built off the coast of Denmark, it had 5 megawatts output, and each unit required 28 days to build. However, the duration has been reduced to half a day, and the cost to construct and generate power has declined significantly.
More Power Demand by 2050
The International Renewable Energy Agency estimated in 2050, electricity demand globally will increase to 48 terawatt-hours – 2.2 times more than in 2017. The agency concluded the rise is due to transportation and industrial sectors replacing oil and coal with electricity.
Japan is attempting to expand the limited quantity of offshore wind power it has. By 2040, the government estimated to increase wind power output to 4,500 megawatts. However, the facility they planned for Yurihonjo, Akita Prefecture, would have 730 megawatts output. As a comparison, it is only one-fifth of Dogger Bank wind farm.
As shown in a research firm from Bloomberg NEF, the cost of a new power plant in a country and region depends on which energy source is cheapest.
The study claimed that the lowest cost per megawatt-hour was found in Japan with coal priced at US$74, solar at US$33 in China, the U.S. with wind priced at US$36, and the U.K. with wind priced at US$42.
In Japan, renewable energies were more expensive, with solar costing US$124 and wind costing US$113.
About three-quarters of the world’s total gross domestic product (GDP) is accounted for by the countries and regions where renewable energy is the cheapest. The countries in Southeast Asia and Japan were the exceptions where coal was the most affordable energy source.
Renewables Efforts in APAC Countries
Nearly all APAC countries are heavily reliant on fossil fuels, but they’re also interested in transitioning to renewable energy. Recent years have seen a surge in the growth of such projects in China, India, and Australia over that of Europe and the United States.
Affordable, clean, and sustainable energy is critical to reinforcing both economic and social growth in this diverse region. According to BMI research, the APAC region will become a leader in clean energy deployment in the next decade, with an estimated 500 GW of non-hydro capacity being installed.
Fossil fuels still dominate the energy market in the Asia Pacific, but renewable energy is increasing, which will result in lower capacity shares for fossil fuels.
BMI Research predicts that China and India will account for nearly all of the 430 MW of new wind and solar installed over the next eight years. Over the decade, India is expected to add 164 GW of non-hydro renewable capacity, a total increase of 165 percent on installed capacity.