Tokyo looks to build natural gas power plant


Staff Writer

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government said Tuesday it wants to build a power plant fueled by natural gas that can generate the electricity equivalent to one nuclear reactor.

The thermal plant project is partly aimed at finding a way to keep businesses from moving away due to the unstable power supply in the capital amid the Fukushima nuclear crisis and other reactor shutdowns, metropolitan officials said.

The planned 1 million kw to be generated by the plant could also be used to power subway trains, hospitals and other public and private facilities.

The metropolitan government said it will urge the central government to ease regulatory hurdles so the plant construction can proceed smoothly.

“When people in industrial circles are pondering what to do . . . Tokyo, Japan’s heart, will build a 1 million kw electric plant,” Vice Gov. Naoki Inose told reporters at City Hall.

Inose stressed that burning natural gas emits less carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide and sulfur oxide, is highly efficient and requires less space than other types of power plants.

He said it will take 10 to 30 years before natural energy serves as the predominant power resource to run the capital and the natural gas-fired power plant will play a major role.

Gov. Shintaro Ishihara hinted last month that some foreign funds are interested in investing in the project.

The latest thermal power generation technology, which uses natural gas and combines gas and vapor turbines, is 1.4 times more energy-efficient than oil, according to officials.

The metropolitan government said it is considering several candidate sites for the plant, including reclaimed land in Tokyo Bay.