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METI to Launch Subcommittee on Electricity Resilience towards a Decarbonized Society

February 14, 2019

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) decided to launch a new subcommittee named the “Subcommittee on Electricity Resilience toward Decarbonized Society” under the Electricity and Gas Industry Committee of the Advisory Committee for Natural Resources and Energy. This subcommittee aims to study approaches to enhancing the resilience of electricity infrastructures and establishing sustainable, steady electricity supply systems in which new technologies are incorporated so as to realize a decarbonized society in the future, in parallel to placing eyes on changes in environments surrounding the electricity policies in Japan.

1. Purpose of the subcommittee

Global society is facing the need for further enrichment of countermeasures against climate change which is motivated by the conclusion of the Paris Agreement. Against this backdrop, in July 2018, the Cabinet approved the Fifth Strategic Energy Plan, and under this plan, Japan should seek all options to realize a decarbonized society in the future. In this context, in particular, the Subcommittee on Mass Introduction of Renewable Energy and Next-Generation Electricity Networks of METI has been advancing discussions on measures mainly for maximum utilization of the existing power grids, aiming to overcome restrictions imposed on such power grids, a challenge in achieving the mass introduction of renewable energy. However, Japan is now facing a new situation in which further measures for making renewable energy becoming a major power source should be taken.

In addition, a series of disasters that occurred in Japan since the summer of 2018, including the Hokkaido Eastern Iburi Earthquake, raised, anew, Japan’s awareness of the need for enhancing the resilience of electricity infrastructure and establishing sustainable, stable electricity supply systems. From this standpoint, METI launched a Working Group on Electricity Resilience in October 2018, aiming to make use of reflections learned and experiences obtained from the series of disasters to the maximum extent possible and to compile discussion results into a package of measures that Japan will need to take. In response, the working group compiled an interim report in November 2018. In this process, the working group showed a policy for advancement of discussions on formulation of Medium-term Measures, an effort on which Japan should immediately start discussions, so as to attain a certain level of conclusion by around the spring of 2019.

Moreover, amid the ever-improving new technologies seen in AI, IoT and digitalization, effective utilization of these technologies is expected to contribute to the development of new businesses, further curbing of electricity costs and other benefits. To meet such expectations, the Study Group on Ideal Approaches to New Electricity Platforms that Take Advantage of Next-Generation Technologies has been holding repeated discussions on such issues.

Meanwhile, a new challenge is emerging: unclear prospects for electricity demand and other factors deteriorate predictability for investment recovery involving electricity infrastructures and this decreases businesses’ motivation for investment.

Placing eyes on such changes in environments surrounding the electricity policies in Japan, METI considers it significant to study approaches to enhancing the resilience of electricity infrastructure and establishing sustainable, steady electricity supply systems in which new technologies are incorporated so as to realize a decarbonized society. To this end, METI decided to launch a new subcommittee named the “Subcommittee on Electricity Resilience toward Decarbonizing Society” under the Electricity and Gas Industry Committee of the Advisory Committee for Natural Resources and Energy.

2. Outline of the first meeting of the subcommittee

Date and time: February 21 (Thur.), 2019; from 18:00 to 21:00 (tentative)
Venue: Special Meeting Room 1 on the 17th floor, METI Main Building
Agenda: Purpose of the subcommittee and discussion schedule and method of the subcommittee

The materials and a summary of the minutes of the meeting and other information will be released on the website of the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy (ANRE). The details of the meeting will be broadcast on the internet.
If you are interested in the meeting, visit the ANRE website for internet broadcasting, whose URL will be released along with the meeting materials on the date above, and watch the meeting online.

Division in Charge

Electricity Infrastructure Division, Electricity and Gas Industry Department, ANRE