Japan is reportedly considering shuttering or mothballing as many as 100 older and inefficient coal-fired power plants by the end of the decade, according to the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper.
According to the Yomiuri Shimbun, writing first last Thursday without revealing sources, and then citing on Friday an announcement from Japan’s Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, Hiroshi Kajiyama, Japan will close 90% of its inefficient coal-fired power plants by 2030, amounting to around 100 plants.
Currently there are 140 coal-fired power plants in Japan – where coal accounts for 32 per cent of the country’s energy supply mix – including 26 newer high-efficiency power plants which, according to reports, will be maintained and even potentially expanded.
Japan’s reliance on coal over the last decade has been the focus for significant criticism from various non-government organisations, other nations, and even major Japanese companies like giant supermarket retailer Aeon Co.
Japan increased its reliance on coal following the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, which led to the mothballing of the country’s entire nuclear fleet.
However, the new policy from Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry will close or mothball approximately 100 coal-fired power plants while simultaneously tightening Government support for the export of coal-fired power.
This last seems to be referring to Japan’s support for the development of coal-fired power plants in other countries, specifically developing nations, and follows a similar rumour from earlier this yearthat Japan would tighten restrictions on the export of coal power to developing nations.
The target of the new closure of coal plants are power plants build in the early 1990s and which emit a large amount of CO2. Yomiuri Shimbun claim in their reporting that, as of FY2018, there are 114 such units which cover only 16% of the country’s electricity demand – highlighting not only their harmful environmental effects but also their comparative inefficiency.
Japan will also apparently consider new rules to help the development of renewable energy power such as wind and solar.