This Post was submitted by Climate Scorecard Japan Country Manager Yun-Tzu Lin
Yokohama City is located in Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan along the coastline of the Pacific Ocean with a population of approximately 3.7 million, the second biggest in Japan (“About…” 2021).
In response to the global shift toward a carbon neutrality and abnormal weather and disasters spurred by climate change, Yokohama revised its “Action Plan for Global Warming Countermeasures” in October 2018. Under the new plan, Yokohama declared its intention to “achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions (zero-carbon) by 2050” and a 30% reduction in carbon emissions before 2030 as a mid-term plan.
While this mid-term plan may be insufficient to achieve its long term plan, Yokohama has made substantial progress thus far. Since 2008, the city has actively promoted energy conservation at public facilities, implemented educational campaigns to entrench eco-consciousness into the urban lifestyle of mass consumption, and supported the adoption of green energy technologies. An example of the latter was the wind power station, Hama-Wing, that began operating in April 2007 and produces approximately 3 million kWh of electricity per year. In 2020, CO2 emissions amounted to 17.13 million tons, a 20.6% decrease compared to 2013 levels. In particular, residential (24%), energy transformation (22%), and commercial uses (20%) contribute the most to Yokohama’s carbon emissions.
Thus, moving forward, Yokohama hopes to leverage substantial reductions in energy consumption and an energy source shift to achieve its goal of net zero emissions by 2050. One policy to shift energy sources is through the Virtual Power Plant Project. Financed through the cooperation with TEPCO Energy Partner, Inc. and Toshiba Corporation, the city is working to install storage batteries in designated local disaster shelters in schools. They seek to coordinate usage during peak electricity demand in normal times with remote operation and provide an emergency power source to increase resilience to disaster. This will hasten the reduction of old, inefficient thermal power plants currently used during peaks.
However, the potential for locally sourced renewable energy in Yokohama is low. The city hopes to supply 10% of its energy consumption from sources within the city. Through cooperation with companies committed to RE100 and rural municipalities, Yokohama plans on obtaining the remaining 90% from outside the city. Thus far, Yokohama has concluded renewable energy agreements with 12 municipalities with abundant renewable resources (Figure 1).
Yokohama also plans on providing other forms of renewable energy through the use of hydrogen technologies. These include the subsidization of fuel-cell vehicles, hydrogen stations, and stationary fuel cells. Public awareness and support for this technology will be raised through low-carbon hydrogen technology demonstration projects, exhibits, and test-drives.
Figure 1. Renewable Energy Potential. Ret. 5/21/2021
The Yokohama Climate Change Countermeasures Promotion Council is responsible for exposing citizens to various awareness-raising activities related to energy saving and renewable energy in order to inspire them to adopt low carbon lifestyles.
About Yokohama | Yokohama Official Visitors Guide – Travel Guide to Yokohama City. (2021).
Retrieved 11 May 2021, from https://www.yokohamajapan.com/about/
Japan’s Response to the Issue of Climate Change: An Innovative Transition Towards a
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