WEC Japan celebrates successful Congress in Tokyo

The Japan Energy Association (JEA), the WEC’s Japanese member committee, brought the highlights of the 22nd World Energy Congress in a special gathering in Tokyo last month (6 December 2013).

This was the latest such gathering that the Japanese committee holds after every World Energy Congress to update its members about the global energy sector and to inform those who did not attend the Congress.  Around 100 delegates from Japan’s energy sector attended the Tokyo meeting.

The Congress in Korea last October was the first occasion where TEPCO’s senior management travelled abroad to talk about the Fukushima accident.

All of Japan’s five Congress speakers brought their Congress discussions to the Tokyo gathering. Makoto Yagi, Chair of the Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan (FEPC), and Zengo Aizawa, Vice President of TEPCO, emphasised Japan’s need to continue the use of nuclear power to fulfil energy security, economic efficiency, and environmental conservation requirements, while ensuring a commitment to safety.

LNG is a major energy source for Japan. Shigeru Muraki, Vice President of Tokyo Gas, showed that Japan will continue to need significant amount of LNG, in the range of 60 and 100 million metric tonnes in 2030, compared with 87 MMt in 2013. Therefore, supply chain diversification is crucial. This could be achieved by diversifying the procurement chain and transportation, and making contract terms more flexible, for example via a new pricing formula.

New energy resources could be a game-changer for Japan. Mr Osamu Watanabe, President of JAPEX, said that methane hydrate deposits in the Nankai Trough off the eastern coast of Japan could meet the country’s LNG demand for 100 years. However, developers will need to improve per-well productivity and reduce costs in order to be able to realise methane hydrate’s potential for commercial production.

Kenji Yamaji, Director General of RITE, discussed renewable energy. He presented the business case for distributed energy, Japan’s new energy policy after Fukushima which has greater reliance on renewables, the need to lighten consumers’ burden due to feed-in tariffs, and the expected growth of clean energy technologies on the demand side, such as distributed generators/batteries and smart grid technology.

Other speakers at the meeting include Yoshihiko Nakagaki, Chair of J-Coal, who presented a paper at the Expert Forum of the Congress, Teruaki Masumoto, Chair of JEA, who addressed the WEC’s Future Energy Leaders, Kenji Mizohata of Toshiba, one of three Japanese exhibitors, and three Japanese FELs: Minoru Muranaka of Tokyo gas, Yu Nagatomi of IEEJ, and Maki Takagishi of RITE.

Hideaki Tanaka, Secretary General of JEA, concluded the meeting with a presentation of the WEC’s official Congress statement and the Daegu Declaration.

The meeting was hosted by Teruaki Masumoto.