LNG, coal use hits record amid zero nuclear power

Bloomberg

Regional power utilities used a record amount of LNG and coal for October as they turned to fossil fuels to offset lost output from idled nuclear reactors.

The utilities consumed 4.62 million metric tons of liquefied natural gas, the highest for October and up 8 percent from last year, according to data released Friday from the Federation of Electric Power Cos.

Coal use rose 26 percent to 4.78 million tons, which was also a record for the month, according to the industry group, which started compiling data on the 10 companies in 1972.

No electricity was generated from nuclear power in October after Kansai Electric Power Co. shut its reactors 3 and 4 at the Oi plant in Fukui Prefecture in September for maintenance. The country will rely on thermal-power generation in the coming months as all 50 if its viable commercial reactors remain halted.

Nuclear energy accounted for 29.2 percent of all electricity in Japan in the fiscal year that ended in March 2010, while power plants using LNG, coal and crude provided more than 60 percent, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said in an annual report published in June 2010.

Nuclear power generated about 2 percent of the country’s total electricity last fiscal year because most reactors were shut for safety checks, according to data compiled by the trade ministry.

The utilities generated and purchased 71.4 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity last month, up 2 percent from a year earlier, according to data from the industry group, which consists of the 10 regional monopolies. Warmer temperatures raised electricity demand for air-conditioning, it said.

Power output rises 2%

JIJI

Electricity generated and purchased by 10 major power utilities in October rose 2 percent from a year earlier to 71.4 billion kilowatt-hours, the first gain in two months, an industry group said Friday.

The rise came mainly as power demand for use in air conditioning grew, reflecting higher temperatures, the Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan said.

Electricity output from thermal power plants rose 6.2 percent to cover the suspension of power generation at nuclear plants across the country.

Output increased in nine companies except Hokkaido Electric Power Co., which logged a slight fall.

The output is the combined amount of electricity the power companies produced by themselves and purchased from wholesalers, which include Electric Power Development Co.