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.

Source: iStock

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: https://gj-eedf.org

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

GJETC calls for integrated programs against the corona pandemic and for climate protection

Berlin/Tokyo, 2 July 2020. The German and Japanese members of the German-Japanese Energy Transition Council (GJETC), in today’s outreach event at the end of the second phase of the Council, issued a joint statement calling for linking the fight against the effects of the coronavirus with the fight against global warming. They also presented the results of the Council’s work over the past two years and ten urgent recommendations to policy-makers. The Council members call, among other things, for ambitious energy and climate targets and the promotion of energy efficiency. Both the Covid-19 crisis and climate protection require immediate, global and long-term action.

“In view of the corona pandemic, governments around the world have taken comprehensive emergency measures in recent months to contain the disease and its effects. This is an unprecedented signal for collective action in the face of a global crisis. We are also calling for this determination in the fight against progressive climate warming as an indispensable part,” said the Japanese co-chair of GJETC, Prof. Masakazu Toyoda. The emphasis of national economic stimulus packages on a secure, affordable and sustainable energy system transformation can therefore help to mitigate the economic and social consequences of the pandemic and at the same time trigger new fields of innovation and employment.

GJETC Report_Cover

“Even though estimates for global CO2 emissions are predicting a significant reduction for 2020, this is not the time for complacency. After all, this reduction is not the result of efforts by governments or companies to combat global warming, but is due to the shutdown of economic activity and the economic impact of the corona pandemic. Forecasts assume that without a climate-friendly course of global economic recovery, the original or even higher CO2 emission levels will be reached”, added the German co-chair of GJETC, Prof. Dr. Peter Hennicke.

In order to finance the economic stimulus packages against the consequences of the Corona crisis, a substantial increase in new public debt is inevitable. However, the more new investments and business areas for climate protection technologies are promoted, the lower the future financial burdens on the budget and the more positive the employment effects. Gearing the unprecedented global economic aid towards combating climate change is therefore also a historic opportunity to drive forward ecological modernization through state incentives. By contrast, to use the economic stimulus packages to continue to support inefficient and carbon-rich projects would mean not only losing many opportunities for innovation and decarbonising business fields, but possibly losing the fight against global warming, the GJETC said in its statement.

The full GJETC statement can be downloaded here

Study results and policy recommendations

In addition to the statement on the Corona crisis, GJETC also presented the results produced in the second phase of the Council’s work during the virtual outreach event. In the context of the study on the “Hydrogen Society”, GJETC examined the different strategies of Japan and Germany with regard to the use and establishment of hydrogen in society to reduce emissions. The study “Digitalization and the energy transition” dealt with the use of Virtual Power Plants (VPP) as well as the benefits of Peer-to-Peer (P2P) electricity trading and power purchase agreements (PPAs). Furthermore, the results of the four working groups (Energy Efficiency in Buildings; Transportation and sector coupling; Climate & Energy policy, Targets, Plans and Strategies: The role of monitoring and evaluation mechanisms; Integration cost of Variable Renewable Energies) were presented.

The final discussion on the results took place in a virtual council meeting on 22 June. In order to achieve climate neutrality, Germany and Japan must review their emission reduction targets set so far, grade up their ambitions in the implementation of climate targets, drive technological and social innovation and solidify the overall commitment of the projects.

The GJETC Report 2020 as well as the results of the studies and working groups of the second phase can be found at www.gjetc.org.

Webinar: Results & Policy Recommendations of the GJETC Phase II 2018-2020 in the light of Covid-19

On Thursday, 2nd July 2020, from 10:00-11:30 the GJETC will be presenting final results of the 2nd phase of the GJETC (2018-2020) along with the policy recommendations derived from the reports in it’s first Webinar. Aside from the 2 core topics of the 2nd phase “Hydrogen Society” and “Digitization & Energy Transition”, the working groups have prepared input papers in bilateral cooperation between the respective GJETC experts on numerous issues:

  • Energy Efficiency in Buildings
  • Long-term Scenarios and Review Mechanisms
  • Transportation & Sector-Coupling
  • Integration Costs of Renewable Energy Sources

GJETC Webinar

In addition, a special spotlight will be put on the topic “energy transition and the corona crisis”. The Co-Chairs of the GJETC Prof. Peter Hennicke and Prof. Masakazu Toyoda will give will give insight on the German and Japanese view on this topic.

Event Language: English

Costs: The participation is free of charge (no limit to participants)

Program (English)

Programm (Deutsch)

プログラム (日本語)

Outreach: Results & Policy Recommendations of the GJETC Phase II 2018-2020

CANCELLED BECAUSE OF COVID-19

On Friday March 20th 2020, from 10:00-12:00 the GJETC will be presenting final results of the 2nd phase of the GJETC (2018-2020) along with the policy recommendations derived from the reports, during a public Outreach at the Japanese-German Center Berlin (JDZB). Aside from the 2 core topics of the 2nd phase “Hydrogen Society” and “Digitization & Energy Transition”, the working groups have prepared input papers in bilateral cooperation between the respective GJETC experts on numerous issues:

  • Energy Efficiency in Buildings
  • Long-term Scenarios and Review Mechanisms
  • Transportation & Sector-Coupling
  • Integration Costs of Renewable Energy Sources

GJETC Outreach Panel

In addition, Prof. Hennicke, Co-Chair of the GJETC, will give insight on the GJETC as a role model for bilateral scientific cooperation as well as future perspectives within the framework of the German-Japanese Energy Partnership. These points will also be discussed in the concluding discussion round by GJETC Co-Chairs Prof. Toyoda and Prof. Hennicke, GJETC member Prof. Jun Arima as well as representatives of the Federal Ministry for Economic and Energy (BMWi) and the Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU).

Registration: CLOSED

Language: Simultaneous translation German/Japanese

Costs: The participation is free of charge, but the number of participants is limited (first come, first serve)

Program (English)

Programm (Deutsch)

プログラム (日本語)

Stabilizing the energy supply under growing shares of Renewables

Tokyo, 24th September 2019. On September 23th and 24th the 7th meeting of the German-Japanese Energy Transition Council (GJETC) was held in Tokyo. In addition, the council organized an Outreach Event on the afternoon of the second day to inform about the unbundling of electricity markets and management options.

Japan is restructuring its electricity market and competing energy suppliers, unbundling grid and competitive balancing markets are the results. Digitization can enable system operators, producers, traders, consumers and storage providers to co-operate and use the renewable power instead of wasting it. This hypothesis is the background for a study conducted by the GJETC. The Wuppertal Institute and the Institute of Energy Economics, Japan (IEEJ) as the scientific secretariats of the GJETC, analysed concepts of virtual power plants and their underlying business models as well as the use of Blockchain technology. The focus was set on case studies such as the German company Next Kraftwerke and the US energy supplier Pacific Gas & Electric. First results have been discussed at the 7th meeting of the council.

Group picture 7. Council meeting
Group picture of GJETC members and staff on the 7th council meeting in Tokyo.

The study shows that Virtual Power Plants (VPP) business models may be largely dependent upon the regulatory framework, renewable energy resources, the electricity supply system as well as the electricity market system. Experiences from Germany show that for example the gradual expiration of FIT (Feed-in Tariff), which is also the case for Japan, will create a favourable business environment for VPP. IT systems and market structure on the other hand currently do not seem to influence VPP models significantly. However, as Germany is the only country with fully commercialized VPP so far this might very well change in the future as maturing markets might lead to different developments and results in other countries.

At the Outreach Event held on September 24th, Prof. Dr. Klaus-Dieter Borchardt, Deputy Director of the Directorate-General for Energy of the European Commission, Dr. Boris Rigault, Head of the Field Industrial Steam Turbines at Siemens AG and Steffen Riediger, Director European Power Derivatives at European Energy Exchange (EEX) explained their efforts and achievements in trying to attain stabilized electric systems under growing shares of renewable energy.

Outreach Event Electricity Markets
External experts and council members at the Outreach Event on September 24th: Prof. Dr. Klaus-Dieter Borchardt (Deputy Director of the Directorate-General for Energy of the European Commission), Junichi Ogasawara (IEEJ), Dr. Boris Rigault (Head of the Field Industrial Steam Turbines at Siemens AG) and Steffen Riediger (Director European Power Derivatives at European Energy Exchange, short EEX).

“Experiences in Europe show that integrating a high share of renewable energy production into the electricity markets means providing flexibility on the generation and demand sides, as well as creating strong price signals”, said Prof. Dr. Klaus-Dieter Borchardt during the Event. The Outreach is intended to provide both strategic and in-depth insights on selected topics related to electricity markets and growing shares of renewable energy production in both countries.

The next scheduled council meeting will be held in Berlin on 18th and 19th March 2020. A video on the concept and work of the GJETC as well as study results, input papers, and a final report of the 1st phase (in English, summaries in Japanese and German) can be downloaded in the Publication section of the website.

Outreach: Unbundling of Electricity Markets and Management Options

Japan is in the process of restructuring its electricity market, e.g. introducing competition in supply, unbundling, and competitive balancing markets. Germany, as a member state of the European Union, has already restructured its power market in the years since 1998. Both countries, however, will have to develop their electricity markets further to master the energy transition. This concerns particularly the integration of large shares of generation based on mostly variable renewable energy.

Following the 7th GJETC Council Meeting on 23rd/24th September in Tokyo the GJETC is organizing an Outreach Event to discuss this issue with the public:

“Management Options for Unbundled & Secure Electricity Markets with Growing Shares of Renewable Energy –

Needs, Experiences, and Options for Japanese-German Cooperation”

Electricity Market

When? Tuesday, September 24th, 14:30-16:30

Where? Institute of Energy Economics Japan (IEEJ), Tokyo

The Outreach Event is intended to provide both strategic and in-depth insights on selected topics related to electricity markets and growing shares of renewable energy production in both countries. The invited experts represent a mix of government, science/academia and the private sector. The input presentations and discussion are intended to lead to a better understanding of the possibilities of bilateral collaboration on the Energy transition.

Language

Simultaneous translation German <> Japanese

Program

Program (English)

 

GJETC honored as role model for bilateral scientific cooperation

The Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) has been promoting scientific exchange between Japan and Germany since the 1930s. The German Society of JSPS Fellows awarded the JACA Prize to Prof. Dr. Peter Hennicke, Senior Advisor at the Wuppertal Institute, at the German-Japanese symposium “Art, architecture and technology” in Vienna on May 24. The JSPS Alumni Club Award 2019 (“JACA Prize” for short) was given to Peter Hennicke for “his outstanding contribution to the realisation of scientific exchange between German-speaking countries and Japan”. The award also appreciates Peter Hennicke’s role as German Co-Chair of the German-Japanese Energy Transition Council (GJETC) and the GJETC’s three years of cooperation. The laudatio reads: “The JACA of 2019 honours Professor Hennicke representing the founding consortium of the worldwide unique GJETC”.

JACA_Hennicke_GJETC

Photo: JSPS-Chairman Prof. Heinrich Menkhaus (left) presenting the JACA Prize to GJETC Co-Chair Prof. Peter Hennicke. (© Valentin Jäger-Waldau)

In his acceptance speech, Hennicke also addressed the role of the cooperation model: “The award is a great honour and an enormous encouragement for me and for the entire team of the German Japanese Energy Transition Council. The aim of our cooperation with Japan is to demonstrate that the energy transition can succeed better, despite considerably different starting positions in Germany and Japan, if both countries learn from their strengths, but also try to make their weaknesses transparent in order to avoid them.”

Downloads:

Laudatory Speech

Acceptance Speech by GJETC Co-Chair Peter Hennicke

How to digitize the Energy Transition

Berlin, 7th March 2019. In the last two days the 6th meeting of the German-Japanese Energy Transition Council (GJETC) has been held in the Japanese-German Center Berlin. The first meeting in 2019 took place primarily with a focus on digitization. A new working group was set up to deal with the issue of “Digitization and the Energy Transition”. At the sidelines of the meeting, members of the GJETC also visited an outstanding sector coupling project that uses surplus energy for heating and cooling.

The GJETC has dedicated one of its newly established working groups to the subject of “Digitization and the Energy Transition”. The Wuppertal Institute and the Institute of Energy Economics, Japan (IEEJ) as the scientific secretariats of the GJETC are currently investigating concepts of virtual power plants and their underlying business models. The focus is on case studies such as the German company Next Kraftwerke and the US energy supplier Pacific Gas & Electric. In addition, the activities of German municipal utilities (“Stadtwerke”) in the field of digitization are of interest. The research group also puts an eye on the heat sector in terms of district heating storage and sector coupling.

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Digitization can enable system operators, producers, traders, consumers and storage providers to co-operate and use the renewable power instead of wasting it. “Utilization before limitation” is also the motto of the WindNODE showcase project within the SINTEG program of the German Economic Ministry (BMWi), which was presented on the 2nd day. The aim is to integrate as much renewable energy into the system as possible while also maintaining the grid stability. New flexibility options through sector coupling and regional power plants are tested to prevent congestions and ensure optimal use of green energy. Following the Council Meeting the German and Japanese experts visited a sector coupling project by GASAG Solutions on the EUREF-Campus, concerned with Power-to-Heat (P2H) and Power-to-Cold (P2C). The system enables the intelligent use of surplus electricity for heating with an electric heater and two storage tanks as well as cooling with two compression refrigerator machines. In addition, the connection to a bio methane CHP can compensate for low supply voltage and keep the system stable. The Japanese Council Members were impressed by the project: “Grid stabilization is always one of the most sensitive points when talking about renewable energy integration, especially in Japan. The intelligent combination of P2H, P2C and the CHP plant pose an interesting option for the energy supply of districts in the future”, said Prof. Yasumasa Fujii from the University of Tokyo.

GJETC © JDZB (3)

For the second working phase which started in October 2018, the GJETC installed working groups including Council Members as well as external experts from industry and civil society in order to facilitate a more focused research on five specific topics („bottlenecks“) of energy transition identified in phase one. One of the newly implemented working groups of the GJETC accompanies a comparative study on “The Future Role of Hydrogen in the German and Japanese energy systems”. The study includes an analysis of the status quo, a meta-analysis of existing scenarios on the role of hydrogen in the Japanese and German energy systems, and an overview of standards and regulations.

Another working group discusses long-term scenarios of energy supply until 2050 and related review mechanisms, including a study of BDI (Association of German Industries) on “Climate Pathways of Germany”. The discussion on how Germany and Japan can close the implementation gaps of their GHG emission reduction goals they committed to come right in time as the future alignment of energy policy are intensively discussed in Germany as well as in Japan in the forerun to the G20 summit in Japan in June 2019. “Energy efficiency in buildings” is the main topic of another working group within GJETC. At the Council Meeting in Berlin, the GJETC members discussed with external experts about building politics in the Light of COP 24 results with external experts from the German Ministry for Interior, Building and Communication (BMI), German Industry Initiative for Energy Efficiency (DENEFF) as well as the Federal Institute for Research on Building, Urban Affairs and Spatial Development (BBSR).

The next scheduled Council meeting will be held Tokyo in September 2019.

GJETC 2.0 – Project enters next stage with new concept & new faces

After two years of successful work which culminated in an extensive 800 pages study program and a Final Report published in April 2018, the German-Japanese Energy Transition Council (GJETC) will continue its work in a 2nd phase from this fall. Thanks to the renewed support of the German Environment Foundation (DBU), the German Federal Foreign Office and the Japanese Ministry of Economy and Trade (METI), the Council will independently develop ideas and alternative options for a long-term and sustainable energy supply strategy in both countries in the next 2 years.

German-Japanese-Energy-Transition-Council-GJETC-GroupPhoto: GJETC 2.0 in Tokyo during 5th Council Meeting on 14th November

“The 2nd GJETC working phase comes just in the right timing as the long-term scenarios for the future alignment of energy policy are intensively discussed in Germany as well as in Japan. In the forerun to COP 24 in Poland and G20 summit in Japan, German and Japanese German governmental bodies and organizations intensified their consultations in several fields related to energy system of the future. For these discussions, the GJETC is a unique project of independent bilateral scientific cooperation, which aims to continue to give science-based impulses for the energy policy in both countries”, stated Prof. Peter Hennicke, German Co-Chair of the GJETC.

German-Japanese-Energy-Transition-Council-GJETC-Hennicke-Toyoda-METIPhoto: Prof. Masakazu Toyoda (center) reviewing the 1st phase together with his German counterpart Prof. Dr. Peter Hennicke (right) and Masayoshi Yamakage (left), Director Policy Planning Division, Energy Conservation and Renewable Energy Department of the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy (ANRE)

GJETC 2.0 will adopt a new working style. In addition to the biannual meetings, working groups including Council Members as well as external experts from industry and civil society will be installed to facilitate a more focused research on specific topics („bottlenecks“) of energy transition identified in phase 1. A special focus will be set on the review of German and Japanese long-term scenarios (for 2050) and their evaluation mechanisms as well as on building energy efficiency and heating/cooling. Furthermore, two fundamental studies on “H2 Society“ and the Role of „Digitization for the Energy Transition“ will be carried out and accompanied by the Council.

In order to cover all the diverse topics while preserving the core of the Council, some new members have been introduced: Prof. Dr. Andreas Loeschel, Chair of Microeconomics at the University of Muenster and Member of the German Governmental Energy Transition Monitoring Expert Group; Dr. Harry Lehmann, General Director at the Federal Environmental Agency (UBA); Dr. Carsten Rolle, Head of Department for Energy and Climate Policy at the Federation of German Industries (BDI); Prof. Kazuhiko Takeuchi, President of the renowned Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES).

The next Council meetings are held in Tokyo on November 14/15, 2018 and in Berlin on March 6/7, 2019. A video on the concept and work of the GJETC as well as the study results, input papers, and final report of the 1st phase (in English, summaries in Japanese and German) can be downloaded from the GJETC website.