Japan ponders doubling grid capacity in huge renewables push

Japan is considering doubling its inter-regional power grid capacity from its present level of some 24 gigawatts to help increase its expansion of renewable energy projects such as offshore wind farms, according to local media.

The move comes as Japan gears up its drive to expand cleaner energy to help the country achieve its goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2050, and as the weak power grid has been a hindrance to the growth of renewable energy in Japan.

The industry ministry and the Organization for Cross-Regional Coordination of Transmission Operators (OCCTO) are considering a plan to build undersea cables to connect the northern island of Hokkaido and the main Honshu island where power demand is high, an industry ministry official has suggested.

Other potential plans include boosting transmission landlines between the northern Tohoku region and the Tokyo metropolitan areas on Honshu island, and reinforcing grids between the southern island of Kyushu and Honshu, he said.

The Nikkei business daily has reported that the industry ministry and the OCCTO have put together a draft plan to double the inter-regional power grid capacity.

“We are still considering those plans and nothing have been finalised,” the ministry official said, adding that an interim report will likely be compiled in May and the actual plan will be finalised next fiscal year, with construction starting in or after 2023, he said.