1. What are the driving factors for increasing re newable energy production in Japan?
Japan is heavily dependent on imported energy. One of the driving factors in Japan for increasing renewable energy production is the necessity to diversify energy sources in order to enhance national energy security. Japan needs to secure efficiency of energy and contribute to countermeasures against global warming as well. It’s important to note that this chapter was prepared before the massive 11 March 2011 earthquake and tsunami in eastern Japan that resulted in the crisis at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Stations. It is generally anticipated that this crisis will encourage movement for renewable energies to replace nuclear power, but at the time of printing it is premature to discuss details.
Japan imports nearly all fossil fuel consumed in the country. Oil and LP gas are imported mainly from the Middle East. Natural Gas comes from South East Asia, Australia, and the Middle East. Coal comes from Australia. Energy domestically produced in Japan, which constitutes only four percent of energy consumed in Japan, is limited to hydraulic power, geothermal power, wind power, and natural gasses, etc. Even adding atomic energy, which is produced in Japan using imported uranium, the percentage of conventional energy self-sufficiency in Japan was no more than 18 percent1 (in 2007).
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