This is the first post of a series I intend to write on the energy efficiency theme, of which this one is a general introduction, and the following ones will keep going into more specific matters and tips.
Historically, Japanese overpopulation together with its traditional Confucianism principles and lack of basic resources has turned Japan into one of the most, if not the most, efficient countries in the modern world. There are obviously many different ways of measuring macro-efficiency, but I personally tend to prefer economies energy intensity (the GDP/Energy ratio) to showcase it. In the graph below you can see how much energy did each country use to produce a given amount of wealth when compared with Japan during 2009.
This is the first of a (hopefully) series of blogposts on the implications of the Fukushima NPP1 accident in the Japanese electricity landscape. Unless stated otherwise all data comes from International Energy Agency’s public statistics on electricity.
I will reserve my opinions, economics, etc. for future posts, but the aim here is to present the impact on electricity generation in Japan of the progressive shutdown of Japanese nuclear power plants. As a matter of fact, in the first three months of 2012, Japan electricity had the highest fossil fuel ratio since at least the establishment of the Federation of Electricity Power Companies (FEPC) short after WWII (pre 2011 data comes from FEPC). Just how dirty is that? Well, enough to make emissions from hyped Electric Vehicles worse than regular gasoline hybrids (link).
However, in order to understand the implications better, I will compare Japanese figures with those of other large, developed, populated, and relatively industrial countries. Among those I’ve chosen:
- Germany, because it is both Japan’s major economic rival within Europe and the highest profile advocate of denuclearization.
- France, because it’s the country with the highest ratio of electricity produced by nuclear power.
- Spain, because it’s the large European country with the highest ratio of electricity produced by renewables.
- South Korea: because it’s the closest country to Japan within Asia in terms of economic structure, population density and availability of natural resources.