Photo/IllutrationThis solar farm in Niigata is one of many such facilities set up across Japan. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

An expert panel reviewing the nation's energy strategy for 2050 called for reduced dependence on nuclear power while maintaining it as an energy source.

However, it said solar power, and other renewable energy resources, must be considered as "major sources of electricity."

The Round Table for Studying Energy Situations made the recommendation April 10, but did not propose what percentage renewable energy sources should play in the nation's overall electricity needs.

Its views took into account the Abe administration’s goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050 in line with the Paris Agreement, an international framework to curb global warming.

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry plans to incorporate some of the expert panel's views into the government’s basic energy plan that is scheduled to be revised this summer.

This fits with the government's position that nuclear power generation will be necessary in the long term as it produces minimal greenhouse gas emissions.

The panel called for less dependence on nuclear energy based on lessons from the triple meltdown at the Fukushima No. nuclear power plant in March 2011.

Given that nuclear power generation is a means of achieving a carbon-free society, however, the panel urged the government to take immediate measures to develop the human resources and technologies that will be necessary.

It urged the government to position renewable energies as “major sources of electricity that can pay for themselves and are carbon-free” and create programs for battery storage of electricity.

The panel proposed that the government should aim to reduce costs to generate and store electricity from the current 95 yen per kilowatt hour (based on the economy ministry’s calculation) to 10.1 yen, the lowest figure for nuclear power generation as of 2015.

But for this to happen, further technological innovations will be needed.