Electronics giant Sony warned Japan’s government it could shift its manufacturing abroad over difficulties sourcing renewable energy for its operations, according to a minister.
Chief executives from Sony and other major Japanese corporations delivered the warning and demanded reforms to make renewable power procurement easier during a meeting with Taro Kono, the country’s administrative reform minister, said the Financial Times.
Kono referred to the CEOs’ discontent over the ease of access to renewables for large corporations during an interview with the newspaper.
“They told me it’s very difficult for them to purchase renewable energy in Japan. The quantity is limited and the price is very high.
“So they told me either we do something about renewables or they have to move out of Japan,” Kono told the FT.
The situation was made more urgent by the demands of global OEMs such as Apple for all-renewable supply chains, the CEOs told the minister.
Japan has faced criticism for years over the sluggish penetration of renewables into its power sector, with factors such as complex regulatory processes, market design and grid access blamed.
Preben Munch, director of global corporate sales at ECOHZ, which advises businesses on renewable energy sourcing, told Recharge: ”Many corporations postpone renewable energy purchase in Japan due to the difficult market.
“All market players and stakeholders working for more and better availability of renewables welcome large international corporations using their influence toward authorities to create better conditions to stimulate the creation of more renewable energy.”
Newly-elected Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has pledged to push renewables up in Japan’s energy mix as part of a drive to make the nation emissions-neutral by 2050, with much attention focused on the next review of Japan’s Basic Energy Plan due in 2021 which is expected to lay out specific policies.
Japan is already embarking on a major push into offshore wind, with its first tender for large-scale fixed-bottom capacity launched on Friday.
Yoshinori Ueda, general manager of the Japan Wind Power Association (JWPA), told Recharge that the Prime Minister’s appointment of Kono to head administrative reform bodes well, praising the minister as “famous for his ability.
“He can destroy old fashioned rules, regulations and customs, the so-called ‘Ancien régime,” said Ueda.