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Impact Webinar:
Enabling Japan's Future Grids

[Impact LIVE] Enabling Japan's Future Grids

Webinar Background:

As the Sapporo G7 ministers announced ambitious targets for offshore wind capacity, it is crucial to address the underlying factor of the state of the grid. Japan's unique electric grid market situation and growing momentum towards renewables highlight the need for such a discussion. Live on April 20, the key focus of this IMPACT webinar was to explore how the Japanese power grid market can develop to accommodate more renewable energy sources.

Market Fact Sheets:

  • Under the 2050 net-zero target, Japan aims to have 22-24% of renewables in the electricity mix and 44% of power from zero-emission sources.

  • The Japanese government and regulatory bodies will implement new regulations from April 2023, including the calculation of living costs (British-RIIO like regulation). This regulatory period will last for five years and will be evaluated using a top-down approach. Ten transmission and distribution companies developed their business plans in July 2022, completed regulatory reviews in December 2022, and revised their plans accordingly.

Recording Timestamps:

00:02 - 00:24 | [Keynote] Grid Codes for Renewable Powered Systems - The International Lessons Learnt

Dr. Gayathri Nair, Associate Programme Officer for Renewable Energy Grid Integration, International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA)

00:25 - 00:46 | [Keynote] TEPCO's Proactive Initiatives to Build a Smarter and More Resilient Grid

Mr. Nobuyuki Ryu, General Manager, Engineering Office, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO)

00:47 - 01:03 | [Keynote] The Cost of Power Systems in the Era of 100% RE: A Japan Context Perspective

Mr. Tomas Kåberger, Chair of Executive Board, Renewable Energy Institute

01:04 - 01:44 | [Leadership Dialogue] Effective Management of New Renewable Capacity in Japan's Dual Frequency Power Grid
Ms. Arina Anisie, Analyst for Renewable Energy Innovation, International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA)-Moderator

Mr. Tomas Kåberger, Chair of Executive Board, Renewable Energy Institute

Ms. Rena Kuwahata, Energy Analyst Power System Transformation, International Energy Agency

Insights Brought to You by:

Gayathri Nair

Associate Programme Officer, Renewable Energy Grid Integration


International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA)

Nobuyuki Ryu

General Manager, Engineering Office


Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO)

Rena Kuwahata

Energy Analyst Power System Transformation

International Energy Agency

Arina Anisie

Analyst, Renewable Energy Innovation


International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA)

Tomas Kåberger

Executive Board Chairman

Renewable Energy Institute


Kayla Shi

Assistant Content Analyst

Leader Associates

Our Top 5 Key Takeaways:

1. Major trends in the power grid: decentralization, digitization, and flexibility (IRENA)

The power system is undergoing a paradigm shift towards decentralization, digitization, and sectoral electrification. This requires operators to ensure that the system is flexible enough to adapt to changes while maintaining its safety and stability. As distributed generation and energy assets gradually replace large-scale power plants, the need for flexible generation and storage becomes critical. Meanwhile, new innovations such as smart grids, smart meters, and demand response are being developed to meet the evolving demands of the system.

2. Investing in the power grid is of utmost importance, but its significance is sometimes undervalued (IEA)

To meet the evolving nature and flow of electricity while maintaining a secure power supply, we need more grid capacity, operational efficiency, and digitization. According to the IEA's World Energy Outlook report, global investment in the power grid is currently around $300 billion per year, but these investments will need to double by 2030, double again by 2040, and possibly double again by 2050 to achieve global net-zero emissions. However, without sufficient policy attention today, we cannot ensure this level of investment.

3. Despite facing cost challenges, Japan can prioritize the utilization of its existing power grids or establish more transmission capacity between different islands and within existing systems (REI)

Mr. Tomas places priority on the efficient utilization of Japan's existing power grid, with immediate attention required on the utilization of current transmission capacity. Lowering electricity supply costs is possible by establishing additional transmission capacity between islands and within existing systems. Building transmission capacity on land in Japan is costly due to land ownership regulations, making offshore cables a more feasible option. Meanwhile, to increase transmission capacity cost-effectively, subsea cables can be used to connect inactive nuclear power plants. The use of modern inverters and high-voltage direct current lines can solve frequency discordance issues.

4. TEPCO uses EMS (Energy Management System) as a key tool for renewables integration (TEPCO)

The EMS serves as a crucial tool for TEPCO to regulate the power grid. In the process of integrating renewable energy, EMS can coordinate and optimize the use of distributed energy resources to help achieve grid stability and reliability. Additionally, Japanese government has developed guidelines in 2021 that include individual asset evaluation calculation methods and aging asset replacement policies. Based on these new regulations, the aging asset replacement plans of ten transmission and distribution companies will based on the OCCTO guidelines. TEPCO has submitted a five-year plan (2023 - 2027) for the new regulations which aims to  maintain network health, enhance resilience, and achieve carbon neutrality.

5. Hydrogen and batteries complement each other on seasonal and short-term storage in the Japanese power system (Joint Discussion)

Hydrogen and batteries can store renewable energy for grid integration. Batteries provide frequency stability and short-term power balance adjustment and have gained attention. In the US, battery installations are expected to be second only to solar power generation this year, with an expected new battery capacity of 9GW added to the grid, more than the 7GW of wind power. Europe is also seeing a similar trend with large battery investments expected by next year. And the cost of batteries has decreased dramatically by about 90% in the past decade. In addition to batteries, hydrogen can also increase power system flexibility at a long-duration level and be used for industrial and transportation purposes.

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