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The German-Japanese energy transition

In our interview, we put three questions to Professor Peter Hennicke of the German-Japanese Energy Transition Council.

© dpa/Swen Pförtner - Peter Hennicke

Professor Hennicke, the German-Japanese Energy Transition Council (GJETC) that you initiated was officially constituted in Tokyo in September. Its aim is to explore the scope for cooperation between Germany and Japan in this area. What has happened so far?

Since Germany and Japan pursue very different energy policies at present, the first step is to intensify knowledge sharing, to strengthen communication and to create information platforms. It is clear to me that our partner institute – the Institute of Energy Economics Japan (IEEJ) – is very interested in achieving this, as is industry and the Japanese environment ministry.

What does this mean in concrete terms?

We have commissioned five studies that will explore the industrial policy implications, the socioeconomic prerequisites, the design of the electricity market, energy efficiency and the development of new technologies, comparing in each cases the two countries. We are confident that this will allow innovative options for Japanese and German energy policy to be identified. Furthermore, the GJETC members will also prepare input papers themselves with a view to highlighting possible new paths.

In which areas are Germany and Japan most likely to collaborate?

Japan is greatly interested in energy efficiency, especially in the buildings sector. Given that Japan is keen to revitalise rural regions in economic and social terms, decentralised energy supply is another area in which analyses and strategies can be jointly carried out. The expansion of e-mobility in Japan is of particular interest to Germany. The automotive industry in Japan, not to mention the country’s public transport system with its Shinkansen network, are much closer to achieving a sustainable transport system than we are.

The German-Japanese Energy Transition Council was formed in May 2016 with the support of the German Federal Environmental Foundation (DBU), Stiftung Mercator, the Federal Foreign Office and the economics ministries of Germany and Japan. It is made up of 20 experts from both countries and is co-chaired by Professor Hennicke, former president of the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy, and Masakazu Toyoda from the Institute of Energy Economics, Japan (IEEJ).