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Japan’s Vast Renewable Energy Resources
C. Cheng, M. Stocks, R. Stocks, A. Blakers, B. Lu, D. Silalahi, A. Nadolny, L. Hayes
PV Systems and Storage – Modelling, Design, Operation and Performance
Subtopic: Solar Resource and Forecasting
Event: 37th European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition
Session: 5BV.3.30
ISBN: 3-936338-73-6
0,00 EUR
Document(s): poster


Japan is a large greenhouse gas emitter, both on the national level and on a per capita basis. The majority of the emissions are from fossil fuel imported from abroad. The increasing uptake of solar photovoltaic (PV) and wind globally due to continued cost reductions provides opportunities for Japan to reform its energy mix, to reduce emissions, and to improve energy security. Despite recent discussions on the role of renewable hydrogen in Japan’s future energy systems, we believe that renewable electricity generated from domestic solar and wind resources is highly competitive, thanks to Japan’s large wind and solar resources and the low round trip efficiency of hydrogen as an energy vector. In this study, we use high resolution Geographic Information System (GIS) analysis to identify the potential of solar PV, floating offshore wind and off-river pumped hydro energy storage in Japan. We found around 2,100 GW of floating offshore wind capacity and 1,450 GW of solar PV capacity, including ground-mounted PV, floating PV and building-integrated PV. The identified PV and wind potential is 10 times larger than needed to support a 100% renewable electricity system in Japan, and 3 times larger than needed if all energy sectors (transport, industry, heat) are electrified. We have also identified 53,000 GWh of off-river pumped hydro energy storage potential, which is 20 times more than required to balance intermittent electricity supply and demand on an hourly basis. This study provides foundations for detailed energy balance modelling that estimates the costs of a 100% renewable electricity system in Japan.