Fossil fuels in Japan's power mix should be less than half by 2030, lawmakers say

FILE PHOTO: A worker riding a bicycle passes the Fuji Oil Co.'s Sodegaura Refinery in Sodegaura, Japan February 8, 2017. REUTERS/Issei Kato/File Photo

TOKYO (Reuters) - Fossil fuels should account for less than half of Japan’s mix of power sources in 2030, a group of ruling party lawmakers proposed on Wednesday as Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga aims to cut the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050.

That would be sharply down from the 75.8% that fossil fuels such as coal and gas represented in the year ended March 2020.

The government’s current energy policy set in 2018 targets for fossil fuel to contribute 56 percent of total power in 2030.

The group, which has about 100 Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) lawmakers as members and Suga as adviser, plans to submit the proposal to the government by the end of the year.

“In order to surely achieve carbon neutral by 2050, ... it is necessary to make the ratio of non-fossil fuel in the power source mix 50% or more in 2030,” the draft proposal said.

Masahiko Shibayama, head of the group and acting secretary general of the party, said renewable energy such as solar and wind power would likely account for close to 50% of the energy mix by 2030.

“It is still unclear how much progress will be made in the resumption of nuclear power plants by 2030 ... Given the situation, I believe the ratio of renewable energy will be very close to 50%,” Shibayama told reporters.

In the previous fiscal year to March, renewable energy accounted for 18% of the energy mix, with nuclear power representing 6.2%.

The Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011, in which three reactors suffered meltdowns after a massive earthquake and tsunami, shattered public trust in nuclear power in Japan.

Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka; Editing by Clarence Fernandez and David Evans