Since the entry into force of the Paris Agreement, we have declared that the electricity used by global companies around the world will be renewable energy (hereinafter referred to as “renewable energy”). Not only that, suppliers and subcontractors are also demanding the use of renewable energy, and the number of cases in which investors and business partners are requesting the introduction of renewable energy has increased rapidly in the last few years. .. I will tell you what is renewable energy, which has a great impact on domestic and overseas as a business rather than a policy, why you should switch now, the merits and issues at the time of introduction.
What is renewable energy?
Renewable energy is the energy that does not emit greenhouse gases such as solar power, wind power, small and medium-sized hydropower, and biomass, and can be used permanently as an energy source, that is, the energy that is recognized as not running out of resources. * 1
Renewable energy has become a global trend in recent years as one of the effective measures to realize the Paris Agreement, and its introduction is rapidly progressing in many companies around the world.
1[Definition of Renewable Energy] “Act on Promotion of Utilization of non-fossil Energy Sources and Effective Utilization of Fossil Energy Raw Materials by Energy Supply Providers (Energy Supply Structure Advancement Act)” enacted on July 1, 2009, Renewable energy is defined as “aside from solar, wind and other non-fossil energy sources, which is stipulated by the government ordinance as being recognized as being permanently usable as an energy source”. Also, the government ordinance stipulates solar power, wind power, hydraulic power, geothermal heat, solar heat, heat in the atmosphere, and other heat and biomass that exist in the natural world.
Characteristics of renewable energy
There are three main characteristics of renewable energy.
(1) Energy sources are not depleted As
mentioned in the previous section, renewable energy is stipulated by law as one of the conditions that resources are not depleted forever.
Of course, fossil energy such as crude oil and coal is not renewable energy because it is a limited resource.
Also, nuclear power, which is classified as a non-fossil energy source, does not fall under the category of renewable energy because it requires uranium for power generation. Renewable energy is mainly defined as those that use nature as an energy source, such as solar power, hydropower, wind power, and biomass.
(2) Does not emit greenhouse gases When
generating electricity from fossil energy sources such as crude oil and coal, a large number of greenhouse gases are generated to incinerate the fuel. In contrast, renewable energies such as solar, wind, geothermal, and hydropower do not emit greenhouse gases.
Biomass power generation * 2 also uses resources that grow by absorbing CO2 through photosynthesis as fuel, so it is not considered to emit CO2 in terms of handling under the Kyoto Protocol.
(3) Energy sources can be procured in various locations
As mentioned above, renewable energy is mainly derived from natural energy such as the sun, water, and wind.
Therefore, it suits Japan’s rich nature and topography and is important for increasing Japan’s energy self-sufficiency rate
the United States, India, etc. Also, the introduction rate of solar power generation is the third highest after China and the United States * 3, and although the overall introduction rate is still behind that of Western countries, domestic interest in renewable energy is steadily increasing. It is increasing. One of the major reasons for this is the global trend toward RE100 membership in companies.
What is RE100
RE100 is an international initiative launched in 2014 by The Climate Group (TCG), an international environmental NGO.
The purpose of the launch is to shift to a carbon-free society by procuring 100% renewable energy for business operations.
Since the Paris Agreement, decarbonization has become a major issue not only for the nation but also for companies.
The decarbonization efforts themselves are directly linked to corporate value and are also regarded as one of the factors for investors to make decisions.
The introduction of renewable energy is exactly the effort to decarbonize, and joining RE100 is a great opportunity to showcase the attitude of such efforts.
From the inauguration of RE100 to the present, the number of companies that are the leading members of Western countries has been steadily increasing, and as of April 11, 2020, 230 companies worldwide and 33 companies in Japan have joined. I will. The movement to join is expected to accelerate further in United state and overseas.
Advantages and challenges of introducing renewable energy
The advantages of introducing renewable energy are as follows.
・ Supporting membership in RE100, etc., and appealing to investors and efforts toward a decarbonized society As mentioned in the previous section, the introduction of renewable energy will be a major appeal point for the global trend toward decarbonization. Membership in the RE 100 and the Re-Energy 100 Declaration RE Action also adds value as a basis for supporting these efforts. Shortly, it cannot be said that there is a possibility that investors and business partners will say, “If you are not a company that uses renewable energy, you cannot invest or place orders.” So take measures as soon as possible. Isn’t it necessary?
-It can be an emergency power source for
earthquakes and disasters Due to the frequent occurrence of large-scale disasters such as earthquakes and typhoons in recent years, the introduction of renewable energy are also attracting attention as an emergency power source. In particular, photovoltaic power generation systems can be installed relatively easily in companies and ordinary houses, so by combining them with storage batteries, the introduction rate is increasing in case of emergency.
Renewable energy issues
We have told you about many benefits of renewable energy, but some issues need to be resolved in the future.
-Solar power generation and wind power generation, which have high power generation costs, do not require fuel costs, but construction costs and base material procurement for power generation systems are costly. Also, as a problem unique to Japan, where there is little flat land, the need for vast land is an issue in advancing the introduction.
Regarding biomass power generation, for example, there is woody biomass power generation, but to burn wood efficiently, it is necessary to dry it and make it into small chips or pellets. Also, there are costs in various parts other than the price of the wood itself, such as the trouble of transporting the wood from the mountain, the labor of transporting the transported wood, processing it into chips, and transporting it to the power plant.
・ Although the amount of power generation depends on the weather, etc.,
since renewable energy utilizes natural energy such as sunlight and wind power, it may not be possible to provide a stable supply of sufficient power generation depending on the weather and seasons. there is.
For a stable supply of electricity, it is necessary to match the supply and demand. If the balance between supply and demand of electricity is lost, the risk of a large-scale power outage increases. For the time being, we will respond by using thermal power generation, etc., which makes it easy to adjust the amount of power generation, but it is necessary to secure a stronger and stable supply by reforming the entire power system.
What did you think?
What is renewable energy. The background to the attention of renewable energy is the concern and needs for environmental issues on a global scale, and the positive impact of renewable energy on it. Also, it has already had a great impact on business, and there is no doubt that it will become a keyword as a common recognition among companies in the future. If power generation efficiency improves in the future, there is a good chance that it will become a major energy alternative to fossil fuels. Please refer to the companies that are considering the introduction of renewable energy and the companies that have not yet considered the introduction.