New highlights of the German-Japanese cooperation on energy transition research

Berlin/Tokyo, March 12, 2021. The German Japanese Energy Transition Council (GJETC) looks back on four years of fruitful international cooperation. During today’s meeting, results of three studies that the Council has recently conducted were presented. In addition to the topics of hydrogen use and digitization of the energy sector, one study also looked at the impact of Covid-19 on energy transition efforts. Thus, the GJETC continues the preparation of scientific studies and policy recommendations and seeks broad technical and societal exchanges to accelerate energy transitions.

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Challenges of safe and decarbonized energy production for Japan and Germany are growing. On the one hand both countries are facing the consequences of climate change and belong to the states with highest Climate-risk-index. On the other hand, both countries can benefit from ambitious climate change policies, create climate benign growth patterns, and drive a just transition of their energy systems while ensuring stable energy security. The Covid-19 pandemic also triggers the discussion on “green recovery” particularly in Europe and how to invest in a more sustainable future. Thus, international cooperation is more than ever important to exchange good practice and create innovation partnerships.

“The long-term scenarios for the future direction of energy policy are still being intensively discussed in both Germany and Japan. We greatly appreciate cooperation and technological knowledge transfer between nations that operate on an equal level and share the same goals and values,” stated the Japanese co-chair of the GJETC, Prof. Masakazu Toyoda at today’s meeting.

At the council meetings, results of ongoing research on digital applications for grid optimization, on carbon recycling and other technologies to decarbonize energy intensive industries, and on long-term effects of the Corona pandemic on the energy transition process in both countries were presented. In addition, the members discussed possible further research topics such as long-term scenario analyses up to 2050 or the energy and climate nexus of the circular economy.

“Various crises, such as climate change and the Corona pandemic, must be addressed through political action. Devastating economic damage from the pandemic and advancing climate change can be mitigated through support programs, preferably with intensive international cooperation. This would also be an important signal to the public in terms of ambitious policies and actions,” said Prof. Dr. Peter Hennicke, German co-chairman of the GJETC.

Due to the ongoing global corona pandemic, the GJETC’s council meeting was held virtually. In the 3rd phase of the council’s work, the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) takes over funding for the GJETC from the German Federal Environmental Foundation (DBU).

Participation of GJETC representatives in the 11th German-Japanese Environment and Energy Dialogue Forum

The 11th German-Japanese Environment and Energy Dialogue Forum (EEDF) took place online from 16th – 18th February 2021. Presentations and lively discussions on the topic of “Preparing the Industry for Tomorrow: Decarbonization as Industrial Policy – Political, Technical and Social Pathways and the Role of Hydrogen” attracted almost 300 participants each day.

Representatives of the GJETC also contributed to the Forum’s topics. In session 2, Council Members Prof. Jun Arima and Dr. Felix Matthes contributed to the question of “How to reach GHG-neutrality in the industry sector?” and presented key technologies for the decarbonization of the industrial sector as seen by recent studies. In a Networking Session titled “Covid-19 and the long-term effect on economies and GHG emissions”, Co-chair Prof. Dr. Peter Hennicke and IEEJ researcher Dr. Ichiro Kutani provided an input on Covid-19 impact on the economies and emissions and compared the recovery programs in both countries.   

Program and presentation download:

Background of EEDF: The German-Japanese Environment and Energy Dialogue Forum is a renowned platform for the information exchange between experts from industry, academia and politics of both countries on current environment and energy related issues. The 11th edition was organized by the German Ministry of Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU), the German Ministry of Economy and Energy and the New Energy (BMWi) and Industrial Technology Development Organisation (NEDO) in co-operation with the Japanese Ministry of Economics, Trade and Industry (METI) and the Ministry of the Environment (MoEJ).

Networking Session with Co-chair Prof. Dr. Peter Hennicke and IEEJ researcher Dr. Ichiro Kutani about the Covid-19 impact on the economies and emissions in Japan and Germany