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The weekend read: The race for green hydrogen

Large swaths of low-cost land: check. Lots of sun and wind: check. The ability to transport green hydrogen cost-effectively to energy importing economies: check. Then you’re in the race to become one of the “renewable energy superpowers” of the low-carbon economy. A growing number of countries are assessing their renewable resources and natural attributes and positioning themselves to become green hydrogen exporters. However, not all are created equal.

Solar-plus-storage as an antidote to grid congestion in Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido

Chinese inverter maker Sungrow has switched on a 6 MW / 21 MWh solar-plus-storage facility on the island. The FIT project’s connected AC capacity is limited to only 845 kW, but the containerised storage solution provided by the company ensures its viability.

Are Japan’s upstream players heading for the exit? 

Moves by Japan’s trading houses to de-risk their upstream portfolios make sense. Faced with falling domestic oil and gas demand and an accelerating energy transition, future E&P investment is far less certain. Strategy reviews are switching focus to new growth areas – covering everything from fintech to pork bellies – with the increasingly diverse businesses of Japan’s trading houses challenging upstream for future capital.   

Panasonic to exit solar manufacturing

The Japanese brand will continue to sell third-party-made modules under its brand in its home market, as it already does overseas, but in-house PV wafer, cell and module production will halt by the end of fiscal year 2022.

Japanese giant backs QLD green hydrogen plant and Omani grey hydrogen competitor

The Sumitomo Corporation has simultaneously signed a contract with an EPC for a solar-powered green hydrogen production plant in Gladstone, Queensland, while also commencing a feasibility study for a grey-green hybrid hydrogen project in Oman. Considering the relative similarities in distance between the two countries and export markets in East Asia, the Japanese conglomerate looks to be setting the stage for competition in the hydrogen economy.

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Fortescue and South Korea’s Posco agree to green hydrogen future

Fortescue Metals Group Chairman Andrew ‘Twiggy’ Forrest returned to Western Australia last week after a 4-month worldwide search for green energy projects and resources. One of the deals secured on the trip was a circular partnership with South Korean steelmaker Posco. The deal sees Fortescue supply Posco with iron ore, Posco use said ore to make steel, and Fortescue use said steel for renewable energy projects to make green hydrogen.

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Engie and Yara partner to develop Pilbara Hydrogen Hub

Engie and ammonia producer Yara have published findings from their long-awaited feasibility study into the development of renewable hydrogen and ammonia at Yara’s Pilbara Fertilisers plant. The study has led to development plans for large-scale renewable hydrogen and ammonia development with the first phase, a 10 MW solar farm and electrolyser, already instigated.

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New WoodMac report forecasts renewables cheaper than coal by 2030 across Asia-Pacific

A new Wood Mackenzie report has forecasted a massive swing in the levelised cost of electricity across the Asia-Pacific over the course o the next decade. Before 2030, renewables will be cheaper than new coal and gas almost everywhere, and significantly cheaper in Australia.

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Japanese owner of WA’s Bluewaters coal plant reports worst ever loss in face of energy transition

The Sumitomo Corporation has reported a stunning ¥26bn (US$251m) loss on its Western Australian Bluewaters coal fired power investment. The loss assures the company’s worst ever annual performance and comes as a result of international and financial pressure against coal funding.

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NSW has joined China, South Korea and Japan as climate leaders. Now it’s time for the rest of Australia to follow

It’s been a busy couple of months in global energy and climate policy. Australia’s largest trading partners – China, South Korea and Japan – have all announced they will reach net-zero emissions by about mid-century. In the United States, the incoming Biden administration has committed to decarbonising its electricity system by 2035.

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