At a regular press conference on November 17, Chairman IKEBE Kazuhiro of Japan’s Federation of Electric Power Companies (FEPC) talked about future electricity supply and demand, saying, “It is especially important to comprehend electricity demand quantitatively and to consider the long-term supply-and-demand balance. That should be the starting point in considering an energy mix.” He emphasized the importance of sorting out the positioning of the demand assumption.
The chairman referred to a panel of experts that kicked off on November 7―the Working Group on Future Electricity Supply-and-Demand Scenario―established by the Organization for Cross-Regional Coordination of Transmission Operators (OCCTO).
The working group is addressing possible electricity supply-and-demand scenarios beyond ten years, as put forward by the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy (ANRE) in April. Its conclusions are expected to be available before the end of FY24. The group framed the issues as follows:
- Given that some power sources require lead times of more than ten years, the time frame for the scenarios will be from 2040 and from 2050.
- National scenarios will be issued, keeping mind that regional scenarios will also have to be developed.
- The relationship between kW and kWh (i.e., between capacity and demand) will be ascertained. Regarding power sources required for adjustment in the future, discussions will be conducted based on how analyses are proceeding and questions that arise.
After the working group’s first meeting, Chairman Ikebe described its discussions in this way: “The group confirmed its course of action in addressing future electricity supply-and-demand scenarios for the periods from 2040 and from 2050, toward the realization of carbon neutrality by 2050, from diverse points of view.”
Although the working group will discuss the scenario assumptions, Chairman Ikebe said that the level of future electricity supply and demand would surely increase greatly because of increasing rates of electrification as well as continued digitalization. Referring also to analyses by the Institute of Energy Economics, Japan (IEEJ) and others, he said that generated electricity would increase from approximately 1,000TWh in FY20 to about 1,300-1,600TWh in 2050.
The suspension and decommissioning of fossil-fuel power plants continue, while the construction of new ones has been slow. The lead times for the realization of new power sources—including various investigations, environmental assessments and construction—are expected to be about eight years for solar power, ten years or so for wind power, around 13 years each for hydro, geothermal and hydrogen power, and some 20 years for nuclear power.
Considering those lead times, Chairman Ikebe stressed that “the decarbonization of existing power sources, and the construction of new ones, will have to be carried out systematically” in order to achieve carbon neutrality.
The scenarios developed by the working group may not be consistent with various plans and master plans existing under present laws and regulations. Given, however, that the current Sixth Strategic Energy Plan will, in the fall of next year, mark three years since its issuance, and that, under the Basic Act on Energy Policy, that plan shall then be revised, analyses involving medium- and long-term energy outlooks may well become materials for discussion during the revision.