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Renewable Energy | Positioning yourself effectively within Japan

Posted on February 2024 By LVI Associates

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Are you an energy professional considering career opportunities in Japan's renewable energy industry? In this article, LVI Associates explores key trends, opportunities, and expert insights shared during a recent webinar, providing valuable tips to propel your career in this burgeoning field.

The Landscape of Japan's Renewable Energy Market

The driving force behind the surge in renewable energy adoption is multifaceted, ranging from addressing global warming concerns to the pursuit of energy security. Issues such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions, a shift away from traditional nuclear power, and stagnant progress in nuclear applications are steering the demand for geothermal, solar, and wind power. Additionally, favorable government initiatives and advancements in renewable energy technology have contributed to the sector's expansion.

Industry Insights: Opportunities Across Sectors

    • Solar Power: Japan is emerging as a global solar energy leader, propelled by supportive government policies. The Japanese Environment Ministry's proposal to add a substantial 20 GW of annual solar power by 2030 positions the country among the top solar energy markets globally [i]. The adoption of Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) and the new FIP policy is further accentuating the growth potential.

    • Wind Power: With a cumulative installed capacity of 4.80 GW in 2022, Japan is committed to a CAGR exceeding 14% from 2022 to 2035 [ii]. Offshore wind projects, driven by advancements in turbine size, supply chain enhancement, grid connectivity, and significant foreign investments, position Japan as a key player in the global offshore wind market.

    • Energy Storage: As intermittent renewable energy sources gain prominence, energy storage solutions like batteries become essential. The Japanese government's commitment, including a substantial $1.8 billion in subsidies for storage-related projects, underlines the strategic importance of energy storage in stabilizing the grid and facilitating renewable energy integration [iii].

    • Hydrogen: Japan's decarbonization strategy involves clean coal and hydrogen alongside nuclear power. The government's plan to generate $107 billion in funding for hydrogen supply over the next 15 years highlights the pivotal role hydrogen plays in Japan's energy transition [iv].

Government Initiatives and Talent Demand: A Symbiotic Relationship

The Japanese government's ambitious renewable energy targets for 2030, aiming for 36-38% of power supplies to be from renewables, have profound implications for companies and talent demand. Changes in government policies and regulations steer market dynamics, emphasizing the critical need for industry players to stay abreast of even minor regulatory shifts.

These policy changes also shape talent needs in the industry. For instance, the transition from the feed-in tariff (FIT) regime to the FIP regime creates a demand for professionals experienced in FIP, non-FIT, and cPPA.

The current trends in the Japanese solar and wind energy industry highlight a growing demand for experienced business development candidates and project originators. These professionals play a crucial role in bringing in new projects, investors, and staying attuned to evolving policies and regulations, thereby steering company projects in the right direction.

Compensation Trends: Beyond Cash Benefits

The energy industry's traditional salary perceptions are undergoing a transformation as subsidies and investments flow into renewable technologies. While compensation remains important, job seekers are increasingly prioritizing non-monetary benefits. In addition to base salaries and bonuses, companies are offering retirement allowances, RSU stock benefits, housing support, extended paid leaves, and various other perks.

Flexible work arrangements, such as improved work-from-home policies, are becoming more prevalent, with international companies leading the way in providing flexibility. Some even offer benefits like company cars, flight tickets for travel to home countries, or weekly Shinkansen round trip tickets, setting them apart in a competitive hiring market.

Transitioning into the Industry: Unlocking Transferable Skills

For professionals considering a transition into the renewable energy sector, the industry welcomes diverse backgrounds. Globally, offshore wind candidates often hail from the offshore oil and gas industry, leveraging transferable skills applicable to renewable projects.

In Japan, where offshore oil and gas production history is limited, companies seek talents from related fields such as port and harbour infrastructure construction, marine architecture, steel manufacturing, and heavy electrical machinery manufacturing. This openness provides opportunities for individuals with transferable skills and a keen interest in renewable energy.

Transferable Skills in Demand: A Holistic Approach

The renewable energy sector's growth creates numerous opportunities, and industry players are keen on accessing transferable skills. Professionals from the oil and gas industry find their skills in high demand, especially those with experience in project management and construction. Engineers from an Engineering, Procurement, and Construction (EPC) background are valued for their ability to manage large-scale infrastructure projects.

Other sought-after skills include logistical expertise, which is crucial for supply chain management, and soft skills that align with a company's culture. Transferable skills are a key focus for companies seeking candidates from diverse backgrounds.

Navigating Growth Opportunities

As the renewable energy industry in Japan continues to expand, professionals can capitalize on the wealth of opportunities by staying informed, understanding industry trends, and cultivating transferable skills. The sector's growth creates distinct career stages:

    • 1-2 years: Associate/Junior roles

    • 3-5 years: Senior/Team Leader/Project Engineer roles

    • 5-10 years: Transition to management roles - Project Manager/Project Director/BD Manager

    • 10+ years: Leadership roles - GM/Directors/Senior Managers

The renewable energy industry's growth in Japan presents exciting opportunities for career advancement. Whether you're a seasoned professional or considering a career change, understanding the industry's nuances, staying updated on market trends, and showcasing transferable skills can unlock a rewarding and impactful career in Japan's thriving renewable energy sector.

Browse our opportunities and seek guidance

Entering a new industry can be challenging, but with the right guidance, professionals can navigate this transition successfully. Research is key, and reaching out to industry experts can provide valuable insights.

New Renewable Energy roles in Japan

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