J - STORIES – Hydrogen is the future of renewable energy, and Tokyo wants to lead the way. Governor Yuriko Koike shared that vision in November during the Hydrogen Energy Conference for Action, or HENCA Tokyo 2023 (“henka” means “change” in Japanese). She announced the development of Harumi District in Tokyo as a model town that utilizes hydrogen energy to its fullest.
HENCA Tokyo 2023 was held prior to COP28 (or the 28th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change), held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, from the end of November to December 12, 2023. During the conference, 118 countries agreed to triple their current renewable energy capacity by 2030 in an effort toward decarbonization.
Attracting attention is “green hydrogen,” or hydrogen derived from renewable sources. It is seen as a promising next-gen energy source because it can decarbonize and can also help ensure stable electricity supply due to its high energy capacity.
In the "Tokyo Hydrogen Vision" announced in March 2022, Governor Koike appealed for Tokyo to be the world's most advanced city for hydrogen use. While calling for aggressive investments from the private sector, she announced that the Tokyo Metropolitan Government will provide active support for businesses, including up to 253 million yen in subsidies to manufacturers of hydrogen production facilities in Tokyo.
The Tokyo government has set a "carbon half" goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the 2000 level by 50% in 2030 and a "net zero" goal by 2050. But according to the recent "Tokyo Metropolitan Government Basic Environmental Plan," Tokyo's energy-derived CO2 emissions achieved in 2019 were only 8% lower than in 2000. The emissions from the 2019 level must be halved to achieve “carbon half” by 2030.
At HENCA, Governor Koike said that to further promote hydrogen utilization,it is necessary to match supply with demand. She also stressed the importance of promoting coordinated activities between the public and private sectors. As a concrete measure, she said the airports, coastal areas and related local governments should work together to establish a supply chain capable of receiving large quantities of imported green hydrogen.
Harumi hydrogen development project
During her opening remarks at HENCA, Governor Koike announced the Harumi district along the Tokyo Bay coast will be reborn as a world-leading hydrogen town by spring 2024 to “show the world a new model for utilizing hydrogen energy.”
Harumi district contained the athletes' village for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and the 2021 Paralympic Games. A temporary hydrogen station was installed in the area during the games to supply power. Around 500 fuel-cell vehicles and fuel-cell buses were used as official transportation, which demonstrated one of the many potential uses of hydrogen.
In this same area, known as the "Harumi Flag," condominiums will be opened in 2025, where approximately 12,000 people are expected to live. Transportation pipelines will be laid on various locations to supply hydrogen for electricity from the hydrogen stations to the common areas of the residents. This initiative is the first of its kind in Japan at the practical stage and is expected to become the center of hydrogen utilization in Tokyo.
Other nation’s initiatives
Tokyo is not the only city making green hydrogen efforts. During the panel discussion, speakers from various countries presented their initiatives. Queensland Department of Energy and Public Works Deputy Secretary Paul Martin shared the vision of working with neighboring states to create a “hydrogen superhighway” that will run along the country's east coast. He noted that Australia and Japan have been reliable partners since the 1960s. "We would like to work together to create the hydrogen industry of the future, with Tokyo as a key partner,” he said.
Ambassador of India to Japan, Ambassador Sibi George, shared that his country is actively working to use hydrogen as an alternative means of decarbonization while aiming to become a global hub for the production, use, and export of green hydrogen. He also hoped to strengthen ties between India and Japan. By combining Japan's technological expertise with India's extensive renewable resources capable of generating clean and sustainable hydrogen, "we are in a good position to produce synergies and strengthen cooperation in this area,” he said.
In closing, Governor Koike said, "Now is the time to change the future through concrete actions. Let's build a sustainable society by mobilizing everyone's power.”
Translated by Dedsiderio Luna
Photo by Desiderio Luna
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