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METI to Launch a Working Group on Electricity Resilience

October 9, 2018

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) considers it important to discuss challenges in and measures for establishment of a disaster-resilient electricity-supply system in light of the responses to recover electricity systems damaged by recent natural disasters, such as the 2018 Hokkaido Eastern Iburi Earthquake and the 2018 Typhoon No. 21. To this end, METI decided to convene a joint working group called “Working Group on Electricity Resilience” under the Electricity and Gas Basic Policy Subcommittee and the Electric Power Safety Subcommittee.

Note:

The Working Group on Electricity Resilience is convened as a joint working group of the Electricity and Gas Basic Policy Subcommittee under the Electricity and Gas Industry Committee of the Advisory Committee for Natural Resources, and the Electric Power Safety Subcommittee under the Industrial Safety and Consumer Product Safety Committee of the Industrial Structure Council.

1. Purpose of the working group

In 2018, Japan has faced many natural disasters, such as the heavy rain in western Japan, Typhoon No. 21, and the Hokkaido Eastern Iburi Earthquake that occurred on September 6, and these disasters caused serious damage to electricity supply systems in the affected and surrounding areas. In light of the situation, Japan further raised awareness of the importance of stable electricity supply under its electricity policies and the significance of discussing ideal approaches to establishing highly-resilient electricity infrastructure systems.

Specifically, the 2018 Hokkaido Eastern Iburi Earthquake caused a widespread blackout across the Hokkaido region, something that Japan had never been experienced before. In response to the occurrence of the blackout, people in the region, the utility company in charge, the government of Japan and other organizations united efforts for addressing the situations, including topping up electricity supply and energy saving, and this contributed to stabilizing electricity supply and demand along with the recovery of the Tomato-Atsuma Coal-Fired Power Plant Unit 1 on September 18. Moreover, METI considers it important to uncover the series of events that occurred during the blackout, to identify the cause of the blackout and to hold discussions on recurrence-prevention measures. To this end, a third-party committee established under the Organization for Cross-regional Coordination of Transmission Operators, Japan (OCCTO) has started discussions and will compile its results into an interim report around by the end of October 2018.

In parallel with this, on September 21, 2018, the Ministerial Council on Emergency Inspection of Critical Infrastructure decided that the government will inspect all important infrastructures by the end of November 2018, including those in the field of electricity, and establish a package of measures for such infrastructures.

In light of this decision, METI decided to convene a joint working group called “Working Group on Electricity Resilience” under the Electricity and Gas Basic Policy Subcommittee of the Advisory Committee for Natural Resources and Energy and the Electric Power Safety Subcommittee of the Industrial Structure Council. The joint working group will aim to hold discussions on challenges in and measures for enhancing the resiliency of electricity infrastructures and establishing disaster-resilient electricity-supply systems in which Japan is able to conduct efforts for early recovery from electricity outage, smooth conveyance of accurate information to the public and other actions.

2. Outline of the first meeting of the working group

Date and time: October 18 (Thur.), 2018; from 10:00 to 12:00
Venue: Shared Meeting Rooms 1 to 3, 17th floor, METI Main Building
Agenda: Reflection of the disaster responses to the 2018 Hokkaido Eastern Iburi Earthquake and other disasters and organization of points of contention

The meetings of the working group will be open to the public and the details of the meetings will be broadcast on the internet.

The distributed materials and a summary of the minutes of the meetings will be released on METI’s website and by the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy (ANRE).

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