|Strong Sales of Residential Fuel Cells (Ene-Farm)
Sales of Japan's world-leading residential fuel cells ("Ene-Farm"), first marketed in May 2009, are surging, with some 23,000 units sold by the end of FY2011. Sales continue strong in FY2012 (starting from April 2012), as applications for a first round of government subsidies to assist Ene-Farm purchases (maximum 700,000 yen per unit [approx. 8,750 USD∗ per unit]) launched in April 2012 reached the budgeted 12,300 units in just two months. Applications for a supplementary second round of subsidies (2,400 units; maximum 500,000 yen per unit [approx. 6,250 USD∗ per unit]) also maxed out in just a few weeks.
The strong sales reflect falling prices and the introduction of new models by Ene-Farm makers. In addition, consumers are increasingly conscious of the need for residential electricity conservation after concerns about electricity shortages following the Great East Japan Earthquake of March 2011. The rated capacity of the latest model is 0.7-0.75 kW.
In response to this strong demand, the Japanese government decided in October 2012 to allocate an additional 25.1 billion yen (approx. 314 million USD∗) for further Ene-Farm subsidies as one element of a set of emergency economic measures funded by contingency reserves in FY2012 national budget. The decision was made both to support economic growth by encouraging new equipment purchases with a strong investment effect and, from an energy policy perspective, to accelerate the implementation of important green energy options. The new maximum subsidy is 450,000 yen per unit (approx. 5,625 USD∗ per unit), up to a maximum of some 53,000 units, and will further accelerate Ene-Farm market penetration.
The government's "Innovative Strategy for Energy and the Environment" adopted September 14, 2012, sets a target of 5,300,000 installed residential fuel cell systems by 2030. The Japan Gas Association sees ample potential for sales of that many systems in Japan (both city gas and LPG systems combined).
In order to increase fuel cell market penetration, it is essential both to reduce the cost and size of the systems on the technology side, and to expand the number of utilities handling these products on the business side. The Japan Gas Association and Japan's city gas utilities will work together to resolve these bottlenecks and speed the large-scale adoption of Ene-Farm systems, which can contribute to CO2 reduction, energy conservation, and cutting peak electricity demand.
∗ For the convenience of readers outside Japan, equivalent US dollar amounts are converted at a rate of 80 yen per US dollar.
|Participation in GASEX2012 (The 12th Gas Information Exchange in the Western Pacific Area)
GASEX2012, one of the leading forums for the region's gas industry, was held for three days October 9-11, 2012 on the island of Bali in Indonesia. Since the first GASEX conference in Tokyo in 1990, this international conference has been held every two years in one of the 15 economies of western Pacific to promote the healthy development of the gas industry through debate and information sharing among participants.
The theme of this year's GASEX was "Unleashing Potential, Sustaining Growth." A total of 501 participants took part from 14 economies, including 55 participants from Japan.
The conference program included eight keynote speeches, 12 member economy reports, three panel discussions, and four breakout technical sessions, and ran parallel to the GASEX 2012 Exhibition.
In his keynote address titled "Strategy for increasing advanced gas use in Japan," JGA Chairman Mitsunori Torihara spoke about changes in Japan's energy policy since the Great East Japan Earthquake, the efforts of the natural gas industry to grow demand, and the importance of expanding and linking the natural gas value chain.
During the member economy reports, Mr. Ryuichi Nishida, General Manager of International Relations Department, JGA reported on Japan's overall energy and economic trends based on the latest statistical data, and also discussed the Japanese city gas industry's medium- and long-term approaches to: 1) the natural gas shift and the move to advanced uses; 2) the spread of distributed energy systems; and 3) the development of next-generation energy systems.
The breakout technical sessions covered eight themes, and saw the presentation of 26 papers. Seven speakers from Japanese city gas utilities made presentations.
The following links connect to JGA Chairman Torihara's keynote address and to the Japanese Member Economy Report.
>>> Keynote Address "Strategy for increasing advanced gas use in Japan"
>>> Member Economy Report "Current Status of Gas Industry in Japan"
|New JGA Building Completed, Office Relocates
As befits the headquarters of the Japan Gas Association, the new building is fully equipped with the very latest in high performance gas equipment, including gas cogeneration system and GHPs (gas-driven heat pump air conditioners).
The building also employs many green energy systems, including a solar power system and a solar cooling system using both solar heat and gas absorption chillers, thereby achieving high environmental efficiencies.
The new building's 25 kW gas cogeneration system is designed to cope with electrical stoppages. Should commercial electrical service ever fail, the electricity generated by the system will be able to run the building's pressurized water pumps for wastewater and other essential equipment. Another special feature is an emergency electrical generation system that can run for nearly two days even if electricity, gas and water are all cut off.
The new JGA building also uses advanced IT technology to maximize energy conservation, including a BEMS (Building and Energy Management System) that centrally manages all the energy used throughout the building.
The JGA's new address is:
1-15-12, Toranomon, Minato-ku, Tokyo, 105-0001, Japan
Operation Results of City Gas Cogeneration Systems for FY2011 (Total Installed Capacity)
The Japan Gas Association summarized the operational results of city gas cogeneration systems for FY2011 based on a survey of 209 city gas utilities nationwide.
The total installed capacity of cogeneration systems (excluding steam turbines) using city gas as of the end of FY2011 (end of March 2012) was 4.535 million kW, a 29,000 kW (0.6%) increase from FY2010.
The total installed base was 131,280, up 19,289 systems (17.2%). Of these, the total installed base for commercial and industrial use was 6,258, up 164 units (2.7%) from FY2010, and 125,022 units for residential use (gas engine and fuel cell systems), up 19,125 units (18.1%).
The JGA and Japan's city gas industry will continue to promote city gas cogeneration systems, which are a distributed energy system with outstanding environmental and energy properties.
∗ 2 Numbers are rounded off to the nearest whole number, and may not match.
∗ 3 Source: Hand book of electric power industry (2010 and 2011 editions)
City Gas Sales in the First Half of FY 2012 (April to September)
Total gas sales by city gas utilities (209 utilities nationwide) in the first half of FY2012 totaled 16,619 million m3 (41.8605 MJ/m3 equivalent), a 1.5% increase from the same period a year before.
The Japan Gas Association together with leading Japanese city gas utilities Tokyo Gas, Osaka Gas, and Toho Gas will be Silver Sponsors of IGRC2014 (International Gas Union Research Conference 2014), to be held in Copenhagen, Denmark in September 2014.
IGRC is an international conference organized by the International Gas Union (IGU) once every three years, and is a forum for the presentation of new research and development in all areas of gas industry technology, including gas production, transmission, storage, distribution, utilization and basic research. Japan's city gas industry is actively involved in the management of the conference as it approaches, and has contributed significantly to the success of past conferences with large delegations of participants and numerous presentations on research results.
Please find more information about IGRC2014 at: http://www.igrc2014.com/
◇The Japan Gas Association webpage has been renewed: http://www.gas.or.jp/en/
◇We have uploaded the 2012 edition of Gas Facts in Japan.
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The Japan Gas Association
1-15-12, Toranomon, Minato-ku,
Tokyo 105-0001, Japan
Tel: 81-3-3502-0116; Fax: 81-3-3502-0013