Demand for energy in Asia will almost double in the next 25 years, according to Dr Tsutomu Toichi, senior managing director and chief knowledge officer at the Institute of Energy Economics, Japan (IEEJ).
Dr Toichi was speaking at the recent Harvard Project for Asian and International Relations (HPAIR) in Seoul, Republic of Korea.
The largest increase will come from China. Together, China and India already account for about 63 percent of total Asian energy consumption.
Dr Toichi said Japan’s share will decline due both to lower economic growth and to improvements in energy efficiency in coming years.
In Asia, CO2 emissions will almost double from 11 Gt-CO2 in 2008 to 20Gt-CO2 by 2035.
Dr Toichi said it’s clear this is not sustainable in terms of energy security and global climate change because most energy comes from fossil fuels.
“We have to make an effort to realise a more sustainable energy future.”
He added that countries need to employ a mix of measures such as carbon tax, emission trading schemes, feed-in tariffs and energy efficiency standards.
“It’s very controversial now, of course, but nuclear energy supply will definitely increase in future in the Asian region.”
Almost 40 of Japan’s 54 nuclear reactors remain shut down as the country continues to deal with the fall-out from its triple earthquake, tsunami, nuclear meltdown in March this year.
Dr Toichi noted Japan faces power shortages right across the country as it heads out of summer and into its winter season.
Nuclear energy accounted for about 30 percent of Japan’s total power generation in 2009.
IEEJ estimates put the additional fuel costs due to the shutdown at around US$20 billion in 2011.
“That will double to US$40 billion next year if all the nuclear power plants are closed,” said Dr Toichi.
“Of course, safety is important but the economic impact is serious for Japan too.”
The power supply shortage and the high cost of electricity coupled with the Yen’s appreciation are leading Japanese manufacturers to shift their production and investment overseas.
• Writer Ruth Le Pla attended HPAIR in the Republic of Korea with the aid of an Asia New Zealand Media Advisory Grant.
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