Tepco, Mitsubishi group to build coal-fired plants in Fukushima

KYODO

Tokyo Electric Power Co. will construct two cutting-edge coal-fired power stations in Fukushima Prefecture, home to the wrecked No. 1 nuclear plant, in conjunction with three Mitsubishi group firms, sources said Saturday.

The two facilities, with an output of 500,000 kw each, will be built in the city of Iwaki and the town of Hirono. Their combined capacity will be equivalent to that of one nuclear reactor, and they are projected to start operations around 2020, the sources said.

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd., Mitsubishi Corp. and Mitsubishi Electric Corp. will help build the two plants. Total investment is estimated at around ¥300 billion, with Tepco covering less than 10 percent of that sum, according to the sources.

The new power plants will utilize the highly efficient integrated gasification combined cycle, which discharges less atmospheric pollutants and may attract government subsidies. The plan will be presented in Tepco’s reconstruction program.

Tepco expects the plan to generate thousands of jobs in disaster-hit Fukushima through the construction and maintenance of the two facilities.

  • Jens Hvass

    During this COP19, a group of leading energy and climate scientists published a statement on the use of coal and the possibilities of keeping global warming well below 2ºC as agreed by all countries in Copenhagen in 2009: “New unabated coal is not compatible with keeping global warming below 2ºC”.

    Its opening line is: “In response to the recent attempts to qualify ‘high-efficiency low-emissions coal combustion technologies’ as a climate solution, the undersigned scientists make the following statement: Unabated coal is not a “low carbon” technology.”

    See: http://www.europeanclimate.org/documents/nocoal2c.pdf

    As climate scientist James Hansen stated back in 2009, in order to keep the 2ºC target, “coal is best left in the ground.”

    Today, “clean coal” is only a dream, and the Mitsubishi coal technology is only incrementally better than ordinary coal plants – from a climate perspective, using gas as replacement would be better. And using wind and solar would be very much better.

    And making new coal plants in Japan will just make it even more complicated for Japan to live up to its global responsibility.

    So please Japan, do the right things from here, forget about new coal plants. It is a technology of the past. It only means trouble for the future.

    And please ask TEPCO to establish a similar capacity of energy production from sustainable energy. That is the road to the future.

    Already Japan’s backtracking of its 2020 climate target was a very harsh blow to the negotiation climate of COP19 in Warsaw.

    Developing countries see no ambition, no honesty, no responsibility in such attitudes. And new coal plants in Japan will make it even more complicated to ask emerging economies to slow down on the use of coal and to take on their climate responsibilities.

    So please Japan, do the right things from here, forget about new coal plants. It is a technology of the past. It only means trouble for the future.