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Explanation of "criteria" and "support programs" of the Energy Conservation Law
Lecture summary
Hiromitsu Souma

The Japanese legislative system to promote energy conservation is based on the Law concerning the Rational Use of Energy (commonly called Energy Conservation Law.)

The law stipulates fundamental policies for rational consumption of fossil energy by factories, buildings, machinery and appliances, and automobiles.

With regard to factories, their operators are obliged to select energy managers and submit a report regularly. The law also sets the policy on energy saving in the construction of buildings and manufacturing of machinery and appliances. As supportive measures to promote energy conservation, the government provides financial measures and support in technological development. Details of the law are set by the law enforcement ordinances and regulations.

The enforcement ordinances designate factories that consume 3000kl of fuel or 12 million KWh of electricity or more annually as those in Category 1, and their operators are obliged to choose energy managers and submit a regular report and mid-term and long-term plans. Factories that consume 1500kl of fuel or six million KWh of electricity or more annually are designated as those in Category 2 and their operators are obliged to choose energy managers.

In pursuing energy conservation, the "Fundamental Policies for Rational Use of Energy" clarify the goal. As for factories, the "criteria of judgment of businesses regarding the rational use of energy at factories and business establishments (commonly called criteria) describe the guidelines and goals to achieve the national use of energy.

The criteria are guidelines to set management standards and management goals for measurement and records to comply with the standards and maintenance check of equipment. An example of management standards is introduced.

The criteria aim to reduce the specific energy consumption by one percent or more annually and present measures to be taken according to a plan. Facilities that consume energy are requested to be managed and operated better through the introduction of new technologies. They are also requested to consider the application of such systems as ESCO and BEMS.

In 1998, the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy began studying whether the Energy Conservation Law is working effectively and whether businesses are conducted in accordance with the law. The study is called the full factory inspection.

In the inspection, factories or business establishments in Category 1 are examined whether they are complying with the criteria and whether management standards are set and executed. The results are rated. Instructions are provided and reexaminations are conducted when necessary to promote businesses to raise awareness of energy conservation.

The inspection is conducted by the bureaus of economy, trade and industry in eight regions across Japan, and branch offices of the Energy Conservation Center provide cooperation mainly in the technological field. It is conducted at about 700 to 800 designated factories every year.

Support programs to promote energy conservation include loans with low interest rates, tax exemption and reduction, examinations of energy efficiency, and aids to development of new technologies.

This lecture introduces the criteria, materials for the factory inspection, and inspection methods as well as the outline of support programs for businesses to promote energy conservation.


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