Cabinet Decision on the Bill to Partially Amend the Act on the Rational Use of Energy (Energy Conservation Act)
The Cabinet today decided the Bill to Partially Amend the Act on the Rational Use of Energy (Energy Conservation Act). The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) will submit the bill to the 183rd Ordinary Session of the Diet.
Considering that the stabilization of the supply-demand balance of energy at an early stage is indispensable for growth of Japan's economy, the bill provides for necessary measures on the demand side to promote sustainable energy conservation, taking all possible measures to enhance the supply system.
1. Background of the bill
Considering the fact that energy consumption in the consumer sector, including both business and home use, has recently tended to increase, further promotion of energy conservation measures is requested in the consumer sector.
In addition, from the viewpoint of stabilizing the supply-demand balance of energy at an early stage, it is necessary to take all possible measures to enhance the supply system. Furthermore, it is required to take measures to smoothly conduct efforts to reduce consumption at peak demand hours so that the demand side is able to effectively utilize storage batteries and energy management systems that are becoming common.
2. Summary of the bill
In this bill, the following measures are to be mainly taken:
1) Top Runner Program* for Building Materials, etc.
The Top Runner Program has so far been applied to machinery and equipment that consume energy. This amendment adds certain items that do not consume energy themselves but contribute to higher efficiency of energy consumption in housing, buildings, or other equipment to the subject of the program.
Specifically, building materials, such as windows and heat-insulating materials, are expected to be covered by the program. The program is expected to promote technology innovation and enhance the baseline of heat-insulating functions of housing or buildings.
2) Measures on the demand side during peak demand (factories, transportation, etc.)
The current system is to be amended to positively evaluate consumers' efforts to reduce the use of power from utility grids during peak demand hours by using storage batteries, energy management systems (BEMS or HEMS), or private power generation, in addition to their conventional measures to save energy. Specifically, the procedures to calculate the target of efforts under the Energy Conservation Act will be reviewed.
3) Abolishment of the Law on Temporary Measures to Promote Business Activities for the Rational Use of Energy and the Utilization of Recycled Resources
The Law on Temporary Measures to Promote Business Activities for the Rational Use of Energy and the Utilization of Recycled Resources will be abolished, as it is defined in the Law, namely "the Law shall be abolished by March 31, 2013."
*Top Runner Program: A program to request manufacturers and importers of energy consuming machinery and equipment to satisfy a high standard (top runner standard) in the target fiscal year set at three to ten years after, and to submit a report in that fiscal year so that the government checks achievement situations.
March 5, 2013
Division in Charge
Energy Efficiency and Conservation Division, Energy Conservation and Renewable Energy Department