Energy mixAfter the nuclear disaster in Fukushima prefecture in 2011, nuclear energy was replaced by fossil fuels, which were mainly imported. Natural gas and coal represented the energy sources with the largest share of electricity production. To become more independent from fossil fuel imports as well as to reduce electricity costs and greenhouse gas emissions, Japan is currently working on replacing fossil fuels with low carbon energies such as nuclear and renewable energy. In recent years, both the share of nuclear energy and the share of renewable energy in electricity production increased significantly.
Renewable energy sourcesHydropower constituted the largest renewable energy source in Japan. Most hydroelectric power plants were pumped-storage plants. But since the conventional hydropower potential is considered to be almost fully developed, a further increase in capacity is hardly possible.
As one of the leading countries to consume solar energy, Japan made investments in solar power a priority. In 2015, the Japanese government cut the purchase price of electricity that was generated from solar energy. With the average sales price of solar photovoltaic modules decreasing as well, this resulted in a long-term decline in solar power costs. Since the mountainous island nation has limited space on land, it was the first to use floating solar panels.
The offshore wind farm market will center on floating turbines as well. The technology is still new, nonetheless large-scale projects are planned for 2021. Offshore wind farms are expected to expand in the future, as the Japanese government passed a bill in 2019 allowing wind farm companies to operate in the country's waters for up to 30 years. Wind energy currently only produces a small amount of energy supply in Japan, but the electricity production from offshore wind energy increased significantly in recent years.