German GJETC Chairman receives “Order of the Rising Sun” from Japanese Government

Berlin/Tokyo, 10 May 2021: On 29 April 2021, the Japanese government awarded the Co-Chair of the German Japanese Energy Transition Council (GJETC), Prof. Dr. Peter Hennicke, with the “Order of the Rising Sun Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon”. This is one of Japan’s highest awards to individuals who have made a significant contribution to Japanese culture and society. Prof. Hennicke receives the Order for his ongoing commitment and work for the GJETC. The official awarding ceremony of the Order is planned for the next GJETC Council meeting in September 2021 at the Embassy of Japan in Berlin.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr Toshimitsu Motegi conveyed his congratulations to Prof. Hennicke, who expressed his gratitude for the award: “I feel this honourable order as a great encouragement for the GJETC’s work to intensify our cooperation. The award shows that we have jointly created an international role model for scientific cooperation. Despite different framework conditions and energy policy priorities, we have managed to establish a continuous, science-based exchange of knowledge and joined pathways in search for ways to achieve climate neutrality for our countries.”
The award of the Order to Prof. Hennicke by the Japanese government is an expression of appreciation for the GJETC’s work and its policy recommendations. The Council was founded in 2016 and is composed of 16 renowned German and Japanese energy experts. Together, the GJETC established science-based cooperation between the two countries on issues of global warming and the energy transition. Since its founding, the Council has produced numerous analyses, held Outreach events in Berlin and Tokyo and formulated recommendations on the energy transition to the Japanese and German governments in support of the German-Japanese Energy Partnership.
“The new global climate policy dynamics, driven by more ambitious GHG reduction targets of the EU, China and now also the USA, are opening up encouraging perspectives and new opportunities for the German-Japanese Energy Partnership,” Prof. Hennicke continues. “My colleagues in the GJETC and I consider this as an obligation to contribute as much as possible to accelerated climate protection as well as to develop pathways to a low-risk energy system and a just socio-ecological transformation.”

Source: Wuppertal Institute/S. Michaelis

GJETC presents new studies: Digitalization, decarbonization options for the industry and impact of the Corona pandemic on climate policy

Berlin/Tokyo, April 30, 2021. Today, the German Japanese Energy Transition Council (GJETC) publishes three studies prepared during the last year. The Council, consisting of renowned scientists from Germany and Japan, is committed to science-based cooperation on issues related to global climate heating and energy transition. The studies deal with key questions for the energy transition in both countries: How can Artificial Intelligence (AI) and big data be utilized to optimize power grid operation? To what extend can Carbon Capture and Usage (CCU) and Hydrogen contribute to the decarbonization of energy-intensive industries? And which impact of COVID-19 can be observed on energy consumption, social behaviour and climate policy? From the individual studies, the GJETC has also derived recommendations for policymakers in Germany and Japan.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the energy transition is making progress worldwide, and with the return of the USA to the Paris climate agreement, achieving more ambitious global climate targets seems more realistic again. In this process, countries can benefit from cooperation on climate policies, create climate-friendly development models, and advance a balanced transition of their energy systems while ensuring a secure energy supply. This is also indicated by the latest results of studies conducted by the GJETC.

Prof. Masakazu Toyoda, the Japanese Co-Chair of the GJETC, puts the findings into context: “The results show that Japan and Germany have the opportunity to significantly reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and aim at carbon neutrality by 2050 with the help of various country-specific approaches. Our studies find that the consistent use of new technologies, innovative methods to use and store carbon dioxide, and active and future-oriented climate policies after the COVID-19 pandemic play an important role in achieving these goals.”

The German Co-Chair, Prof. Dr. Peter Hennicke, adds: “The COVID-19 pandemic has provided us with an example of how we can achieve unprecedented impacts through decisive and rapid policy actions. Policymakers around the world should use the global stimulus programs as an ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ opportunity to initiate and foster a more ambitious economic structural change in the direction of sustainability. As GJETC, we accompany this change scientifically and provide guidance and orientation through our studies.”

Study 1: Digitalization and the Energy Transition – Use of digitalization to optimize grid operation utilizing AI and Big Data collected from DERs

This study deals with the use of smart grid technology and other digital technologies to harness Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) in order to enable integration of a higher share of Variable Renewable Energy Sources (VRE) in the distribution grid. Use cases, technical solutions particularly based on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT), business models, and experiences in both countries are discussed, but also needs for regulation that will enable their roll-out.

Study 2: Carbon Capture Use and Storage (CCUS) and Hydrogen Contributing to Decarbonization of Energy-intensive Industries

This study explores policy directions and possible technologies to decarbonize the industry sector in Germany and Japan because it would be difficult for both countries to achieve the carbon neutrality by 2050 without the sector’s efforts of reducing CO2. In particular, hydrogen direct use, blending hydrogen with natural gas, and CCUS were the subjects studied. Hydrogen direct use and CCU were found most promising for both countries and their potential cooperation on R&D, policy frameworks, and international sustainability and safety standards for hydrogen.

Study 3: Energy and Climate Policy in the Post COVID-19 era – Comparative Analyses on Germany and Japan

This short and preliminary study focuses on Germany and Japan and tries to identify possible impacts of COVID-19 on the economy and related energy consumption/CO2-emissions and on possible induced long-term structural and behaviour changes. It analyses the recovery programs and their possible impacts on sustainable structural change and on the style of policymaking. Finally, it suggests setting up a more comprehensive German-Japanese research project that compares the long run effects of the COVID-19 crisis for both countries.

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