Japan and Germany are on the brink of a national energy transformation, implementing new energy policies that reduce reliance on nuclear power as a direct result of the Fukushima disaster in 2011. Both are seeking a significant expansion of renewable energy and energy efficiency programmes that will lead to a decrease in consumption, with a higher reliance on fossil fuels also envisaged in the short term.
In Germany the new national energy strategy, adopted by virtual consensus in the parliament, will phase out all nuclear power by 2022. In Japan, although some nuclear power stations are being restarted, it is doubtful that they will ever meet the pre-Fukushima contribution of 30% to the electricity mix, let alone the previously envisaged rise to 50% by 2030.
Geopolitical considerations are vital for a successful energy transformation. Europe's integrated electricity grid has enabled Germany’s relatively radical denuclearization without affecting energy service or price. However, Japan is unable to access electricity transmissions from neighbouring countries, and the fragmented nature of the national electricity grid has further exacerbated electricity supply.
Public opinion has been a key driver for policy-making since the Fukushima incident. Public support has been and will remain the determining factor in the successful implementation of the new energy policies.