In response to the energy crisis caused by the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11, 2011, SoftBank Group Corp., together with prefectures across Japan, established the “Renewable Energy Council” in July 2011. In addition to the Renewable Energy Council, SoftBank Group Corp., together with government-designated cities across Japan, also established the “GDC Renewable Energy Council” in the same month. Both Councils aim to promote and expand the use of renewable energy which is a reliable, safe, and sustainable new energy source. Since then, SoftBank Group Corp. has been involved in the operation of both Councils from a neutral standpoint as the secretariat. The Renewable Energy Council and the GDC Renewable Energy Council, led by municipalities from 34 prefectures and 19 government-designated cities, respectively, are working actively with companies and organizations which endorse each Council’s principle towards the promotion and expansion of renewable energy.
Since their establishment in 2011, both Councils have made several policy proposals to the government that contribute to the promotion and expansion of renewable energy. These include setting renewable energy targets as well as developing and revising energy related systems and regulations that take into account regional characteristics. For instance, the phrase “Renewable Energy as Major Power Source” has been included in both Council’s policy proposals for several years. The phrase’s intention to ensure the sustainability of renewable energy as a long-term stable, major power source has been referred to in the Japanese government’s 5th Strategic Energy Plan in 2018. In fact, while the 5th Strategic Energy Plan announced the renewable energy target of Japan’s FY2030 energy mix to be 22-24%, the percentage of renewable energy has already reached nearly 22%* in 2020. Renewable energy is growing to become one of the major power sources in Japan. Both Councils plan to continue offering policy proposals to the government several times a year in order to further address climate change through the promotion and expansion of renewable energy.
Furthermore, the two Councils hold seminars, study sessions, and workshops to which government policy makers and experts in the field of renewable energy are invited to share good practices and issues among municipalities. At such occasions, the Councils aim to incorporate diverse perspectives, covering not only policy analysis, but also case studies of renewable energy projects in which municipalities and private companies collaborate, as well as knowledge sharing with the academia. Through these activities, both Councils offer meaningful opportunities for municipalities to further share and exchange information, contributing to the municipalities’ local renewable energy policies and to the private sector’s efforts towards decarbonization. As the secretariat, SoftBank Group Corp. will continue being involved in the operation of the two Councils from a neutral standpoint, contributing to the promotion and expansion of renewable energy.