Energy in Transition: Perspectives from Germany and Japan

By Alex Lim Yew Hua

Energy in Transition

In 2010, Germany embarked on a long-term transition towards a low-carbon, reliable and affordable energy system built on renewable energy, energy efficiency and energy demand management.

Today, Germany has taken the global lead in the path to zero emissions, said Prof Dr Peter Hennicke, former President, Wuppertal Institute of Climate, Environment and Energy, during a SIEW Energy Insights session.

In line with its approach of “acting locally to change globally”, Germany has set ambitious targets to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and increase the share of electricity generation from renewables (from 30 percent in 2016 to 50 percent in 2030). Other aspirations include decoupling economic growth from energy consumption, reducing reliance on nuclear energy, and increasing investments in climate and resource protection.

To achieve these targets, Dr Hennicke said that energy efficiency is expected to play a significant role. He added that efficiency programmes would cost an estimated 50 to 70 percent less than building new power supply.

On the other side of the world, Japan is tapping on a different revolution – shale.

Mr Nobuo Tanaka, Chairman of the Sasakawa Peace Foundation, predicted that a second wave of LNG supply will be coming with 15 new projects amounting to a total export capacity of 140bcm underway in Australia and the US.

This abundance has raised energy security concerns for the former Executive Director of the International Energy Agency (IEA). “40 percent of Chubu Electric’s power is dependent on only one source,” he said.

Mr Tanaka added that without nuclear to mitigate these concerns, an alternative for Japan could be to draw from Europe’s grid interconnection experience and form an “Asian Super Grid” with countries in the region.

         

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