Japan and coal
|This article is part of the CoalSwarm coverage of Japan and coal.|
In 2002 domestic coal production in Japan came to and end and ever since it has been totally reliant on imports, overwhelmingly from Australia. In 2012 Japan was estimated to have imported 133 million tonnes of thermal coal and 53 million tonnes of metallurgical coal for steel production. The Australian government's resources and energy forecaster, the Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics, projects a small decline of less than 1% a year in Japanese thermal coal consumption to 2018 and a small increase in metallurgical coal demand.
- 1 Thermal power stations
- 2 Proposed coal-fired power stations
- 3 The impact of the March 2011 Tsunami on Japanese coal plants
- 4 Canadian province and Japan ink deal
- 5 Articles and Resources
- 6 External resources
Thermal power stations
Existing coal-fired power stations
In 2011, Japan had about 243 GW of installed electrical generating capacity of which 73GW in early 2012 was from conventional thermal electric generating capacity fired by coal, oil or gas. According to Japan Electric Power Information Center, as of mid-2012, there are 61 thermal power plants, and 6 more are under construction: 3 using natural gas and 3 using coal for generation. Coal accounts for roughly 25 percent of electricity generation in 2010.
In total, as of 2008, the Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan listed a total of 74 coal fired generation units.
On its website, the Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan lists 53 power stations with a capacity of 1,000MW or greater. Of these, 14 are coal-fired and a further two are coal and oil fired stations. Four of the 14 listed coal fired power stations are owned and operated by Electric Power Development Co.,which is commonly referred to by its J-POWER trading name. J-Power is not a member of the Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan. The sixteen wholly or partly coal-fired power stations are:
- the 1,650MW Tomato-atsuma power station, which is owned by Hokkaido Power Company ;
- the 2,000MW Haramachi power station which is owned by Tohoku Power Company ;
- the 1200MW Noshiro power station which is owned by the Tohoku Power Company;
- the 3,800MW Hirono Thermal Power Station which is owned by the Tokyo Electric Power Company. This power station is fueled by a mix of crude oil, fuel oil and coal.
- the 1000MW Hitachinaka Thermal Power Station which is owned by the Tokyo Power Company;
- the 4100MW Hekinan power station which is owned by the Chubu Electric Power Company;
- the 1500MW Toyama Shinko power station which is owned by the Hokuriku Power Company. This power station is fueled by a mix of crude oil, fuel oil and coal.
- the 1200MW Nanaoota Shinko power station which is owned by the Hokuriku Power Company.
- the 1200MW Tsuruga power station which is owned by the Hokuriku Power Company;
- the 1000MW Misumi power station which is owned by the Chugoku Power Company;
- the 1000MW Shin Onoda power station which is owned by the Chugoku Power Company;
- the 1400MW Reihoku power station which is owned by the Kyushu Power Company;
- the 2100MW Tachibanawan power station which is owned by the Electric Power Development Company comprising two 1050MW units which were commissioned in July 2000 and December 2000 respectively
- the 2000MW Matsuura power station which is owned by the Electric Power Development Company which comprises two 1,000MW units which were commissioned in June 1990 and July 1997 respectively;
- the 1300MW Takehara power station which is owned by the Electric Power Development Company, which comprises three units; the 250MW unit no 1 was commissioned in July 1967; the 350MW No 2 was converted from being an oil-fired power station to coal and re-commissioned in June 1995; and the 700MW No 3 which was commissioned in March 1983; and
- the 1000MW Matsushima power station which is owned by the Electric Power Development Company which comprises two 500MW units which were commissioned in January 1981 and June 1981 respectively;
In addition, the Electric Power Development Company, owns and operates three other coal-fired power stations in addition to those listed above. These are:
- the Isogo power station comprising two 600MW units, the New No 1 was commissioned in March 2002 and the New No 2 is currently under construction and scheduled to be commissioned in 2010/2011.
- the Ishikawa power station comprising two 250MW units which were commissioned in November 1986 and March 1987 respectively; and
- the Takasago power station, comprising two 250MW units which were commissioned in July 1968 and January 1969 respectively;
- Sumitomo Metals Kashima power station
Proposed coal-fired power stations
|Country||Developer||CARMA ID||Plant||Status||MW||Construction commencement||Proposed commissioning date||Latitude||Longitude|
|Japan||TEPCO||17905||Hitachinaka Unit 2||Under construction||1000||December 2013||36.436820663263||140.61409950256|
|Japan||TEPCO||17868||Hirono Unit 6||Under construction||600||December 2008||December 2013||37.232652||141.013799|
|Japan||J-Power||44306||Takehara New Unit 1||Planning||600||Potentially 2015||2020||34.337305771317||132.95724034309|
|Japan||Kyushu Electric Power Company||Matsuura Unit 2 (KEPCO)||Planning||1000||No date specified||2023 "or later"||33.348382906927||129.68253135681|
The impact of the March 2011 Tsunami on Japanese coal plants
On March 11, 2011 a major earthquake off the east coast of Japan caused a massive tsunami which devastated coastal communities and crippled the Fukushima nuclear reactor. Less well known was that the tsunami also had a major impact on a number of Japan's coal-fired power stations and related infrastructure. Coal-fired power stations damaged by the tsunami and earthquake were: 
Toshimi Tsuchiya, director of Chubu Energy Trading Singapore - a subsidiary of Chubu Electric Power Company - explained in a June 2013 speech at Coaltrans Asia conference that even though only 2 of 48 nuclear units were operating "this situation has not led to an increase in coal consumption.".
The reason, he stated, was that "coal-fired generation has always been used as a base load in Japan and therefore even with the loss of generation output via nuclear, there was little room to increase coal-fired generation. A marginal increase in operational rates at coal-fired stations has been off-set by the loss of capacity damaged in the earthquake."
Tsuchiya stated he believed Japan should build more coal plants but complained that "until now, the largest obstacle in building or expanding coal-fired power plants in Japan was the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). Recently, the government announced that they would clarify the EIA criteria and shorten the duration of assessment from three years to a little over one year."
But even so, the Japanese power sector he said, faced a "severe financial situation". While utilities had to bear increased fuel costs of oil, gas and coal after the shutdown of the nuclear fleet, they were constrained by regulated power prices.
- "Applications by power utilities for tariff hikes are strictly evaluated by the governing agency in close detail and traditional levels of fuel procurement costs are becoming extremely difficult to transfer onto the tariff that we ask our customers to pay. The rapid depreciation of the yen is also an added obstacle for Japanese power utilities, making it even more important for us to cut down on fuel procurement costs ... The current coal price levels and external pressure no longer allow such mindset [buying premium coal], and have prompted us to move toward burning lower quality coals which demand higher operational care. The current Asian coal market is split into two sub markets - Japan and its “premium price market”, and countries other than Japan, who are moving toward lower quality coals in order to reduce procurement costs."
While noting that there was increased push for new coal plants in Japan, he stated that due to a determination by utilities to reduce fuel costs "new plants will be designed for lower grade coals."
Canadian province and Japan ink deal
In January 2011, Saskatchewan and Japan signed an agreement to work together on clean coal and carbon capture and storage. The Canadian province and the Japan Coal Energy Center — which represents more than 100 companies — signed a memorandum of understanding to encourage more co-operation on so-called clean coal technologies. The province stated the agreement would set the stage for information exchanges and research projects involving scientists and companies in both jurisdictions. The province stated that Japanese investment in Saskatchewan carbon capture and storage projects as a result. Saskatchewan Energy Minister Bill Boyd said the initiative would help industries and utilities reduce their environmental footprints. Saskatchewan is currently Canada's third-largest coal producer and also relies on coal to supply 62 per cent of the province's energy.
Articles and Resources
- "Country Analysis: Japan" EIA, March 2011.
- Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics, Resources and Energy Quarterly March Quarter 2013, Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics, March 2013.
- "Country Analysis: Japan" EIA, June 2012.
- Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan, "Summary of thermal power generation in Japan", Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan, November 2007, pages 9-10.
- Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan, "Principal Thermal Power Plants (1,000MW or greater)", Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan, accessed August 2009.
- Electric Power Development Co., "Fact Book: 2008", Electric Power Development Co., October 2008, page 15.
- Electric Power Development Co., "Fact Book: 2008", Electric Power Development Co., October 2008, page 10.
- Chin S. Kuo, "The Mineral Industry of Japan", U.S. Geological Survey, April 2009, page 6.
- TEPCO, "Power generation started at Unit 2 of Hitachinaka Thermal Power Station (in trial operation)", Media Release, April 4, 2013.
- TEPCO, "(Notification) Conclusion of an "Environment Protection Agreement" Regarding the Construction of Unit 6 at TEPCO Hirono Thermal Power Station", Media Release, February 28, 2013.
- TEPCO, "Commencement of power generation (through trial operation) of Unit 6 at Hirono Thermal Power Station", Media Release, April 12, 2013.
- Electric Power Development Company, "Outline of Fiscal 2013 Electric Power Supply Plan", Electric Power Development Company website, March 29, 2013, page 2.
- Kyushu Electric Power Comp any, "Outline of Supply Plan for FY2013", March 2013, page 1.
- TEPCO, "Approach 1: Restoration of devastated thermal power station", TEPCO website, accessed April 2013.
- "Impact of the Great East Japan Earthquake on Coal Thermal Power Generation and Coal Demand", The Institute of Energy Economics Japan, June 6, 2011.
- Masaki Shiratori, "Damages of machines and structures in Great East Japan earthquake and Lessons from the disaster", Proceedings of the International Symposium on Engineering Lessons Learned from the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, March 1-4, 2012, Tokyo, Japan, page 146.
- Mari Iwata and Simon Hall, "Some Coal-Fired Plants Brought Back Online", Wall Street Journal, March 19, 2011.
- Toshimi Tsuchiya, director of Chubu Energy Trading Singapore, "Mr Toshimi Tsuchiya’s speech at Coaltrans Asia", June 2013.
- "Saskatchewan and Japan agree to work together on clean coal, carbon capture" The Canadian Press, January 25, 2011.
Related SourceWatch articles
- Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan
- Global use and production of coal
- Australia and coal
- Britain and coal
- China and coal
- Colombia and coal
- Germany and coal
- Indonesia and coal
- New Zealand and coal
- South Africa and coal
- United States and coal
- International Energy Agency, "Coal in Japan in 2005", International Energy Agency website, accessed June 2008.
- U.S. Geological Survey, Japan 1994-2007
- Jacob Adelman, "Tokyo Electric Boosts Coal Capacity to Cut Need for Costly Oil", 'Washington Post, April 9, 2013.
- Justin Guay, "Fukushima and the Japanese Coal Myth", Huffington Post, April 11, 2013.
- Don't Go Back to Coal, website on Japan and coal available in English, by the Kiko Network.
- "Coal-Fired Plants in Japan", 2010. (This page has details on some of the major coal-fired power stations in Japan.)
- Ministry of Economy Trade and Industry, "Future Coal Fired Thermal Power Generation: Advancing Highly Efficient Technology and Environmental Performance", METI Journal, November 2013.
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