近年來日本生質能市場成長快速，受惠於電價補貼政策（Feed in Tariff, FIT），日本生質能市場在經濟與環境的表現，受到國際持續關注。
(資料來源：Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), “Japan’s Energy Plan”)
(資料來源：Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI); JETRO “Japan’s Biomass Market Overview”)
Overview of the biomass market in Japan
The biomass energy market in Japan has expanded rapidly in recent years highlighting the success of the Feed in Tariff (FIT) policy. However, concerns have been raised about the ongoing sustainability of the biomass market in Japan from both an environmental and economic standpoint.
The Japanese government has set a modest goal to produce 22-24% of energy from renewable sources by 2030. To meet this target the government is aiming to triple the amount of biomass usage over the 2013 to 2030 period. Most of the growth in the biomass market will specifically come from “general biomass” usage, which includes wood, PKS, and other agricultural wastes.
(Source: Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), “Japan’s Energy Plan”)
Figure 1 Japan’s Renewable Energy Target for 2030
(Source: Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI); JETRO “Japan’s Biomass Market Overview”)
Figure 2 2012-2016 Japan’s Biomass FIT
While at first glance the government’s biomass goals (Graph 1) seem modest-compared to photovoltaic targets (aiming to increase use by 7 times), biomass production may be more difficult to achieve as the demand cannot be met through domestic resources alone.
Due to increasing demand, many new producers are concerned about the stability of biomass supply. This has led to more companies entering long term contracts with suppliers in other parts of the globe. Sourcing large amounts of biomass from abroad has raised concerns about the sustainability of the market. The questions on the environmental impact of Japanese biomass are against the backdrop of an increasing reliance on biomass from Vietnam and China, countries without strong environmental regulations. While the government of Japan recognizes the need to act, thus far there has been few concrete measures to ensure sustainability.
Despite the concerns, the recent expansion of the biomass market continues to focus on large scale and commercial biomass. This is evidenced in the handful of large biomass power plants over 50 MW that have been, or are scheduled to be completed in the coming years, such as Kawasaki City, Handa City, or Saiki City. For the most part this is a continuation from the past, where biomass has been used for electricity generation to be consumed by industry rather than for small scale residential heating.
The Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries sponsors smaller scale biomass, which mainly aims to use biomass from the local community. This has been achieved by sponsoring biomass grants to circular economy projects employing biomass, a case study which can be seen in Kyotango City in Kyoto Prefecture. In the coming 10 years the city has set a goal to use 93.7% (currently 74%) of agricultural waste and 38.6% (currently 10.7%) of woody biomass
Even when importing biomass from other countries, after a life cycle analysis overwhelmingly it is clear that biomass emits less carbon than resources such as coal. However, it is also evident that there appears to be diminishing environmental returns of biomass when a growing reliance on foreign supply is needed. Japan can be a successful case study for how to scale up biomass through policies such as FIT, but the country’s market also draws attention to the fact that biomass production has environmental and economic limits and risks as well.
- Japanese Ministry of Economy Trade and Industry –Japan’s Energy Plan
- Asiabiomass—Information on Biomass in Asia
- Renewable Energy Institute—Development of Bioenergy in Japan (PDF)