Shulman Advisory

METI proposes new measures for reducing curtailment of renewable energy

METI’s Agency for Natural Resources and Energy (ANRE) has proposed new measures to reduce the curtailment of renewable energy, which has been on the increase across Japan. The preliminary plan tackles the issue from three perspectives: demand-side, supply-side, and grid reinforcement, and will likely be finalized by the end of the year. 

The plan includes: 

  • Measures to shift demand to daytime when more solar PV power is available.
    The plan calls for a shift of electricity demand to daylight hours, when curtailment of Japan’s solar-dominated renewable sector typically occurs. This can be done by installing more batteries and heat pump water heaters in households, as well as battery energy storage systems (BESS) and electrolysis devices in the industrial sector. The plan includes promoting more within-day price variation, including daytime discounts to encourage demand when solar supply is highest.
  •  Supply-side measures to optimize utilization of pumped hydroelectric power generation.
    Pumped hydroelectric storage will focus more on storing green energy during days of high surplus renewable power, while supplying power during the evenings and nighttime. Online monitoring of renewable energy power generation facilities should make better adjustments possible. In addition, the minimum output for newly built thermal power generators will be reduced from 50% to 30%.
  • Reinforcing the grid in high curtailment rate areas
    The southern regions of Kyushu and Chugoku, where solar is most extensive, experience the highest curtailment rates in Japan. So here ANRE plans to review the locations of renewable energy interconnector gates and transmission lines to increase the capacity of the transmission system.

It is hoped that these measures will reduce renewable curtailment across Japan. However, the effectiveness of the measures and the amount of curtailment reduction that can be achieved remains unclear until costs and benefits are clarified in the FY2024 budget.

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Publication date: October 27, 2023

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