The need to cut greenhouse gas emissions and the lack of a strategy for this makes it hard to approve a new coal-fired power plant planned by a venture between Osaka Gas Co. and Electric Power Development Co., Environment Minister Yoshio Mochizuki said Friday.
The comment came after the Nikkei Shimbun said Mochizuki opposes the plant because it jeopardizes Japan’s greenhouse gas reduction target.
“It is difficult for the project to gain approval at this point because a framework hasn’t been set up” to tackle climate change in the power industry, Mochizuki told reporters Friday in Tokyo. “There is a threat to achieving our emission cut target if we continue introducing coal power stations.”
The world’s fifth-largest emitter of greenhouse gases is proposing a 26 percent cut to emissions from 2013 levels by 2030. The Environment Ministry has urged the power industry to propose voluntary emissions measures.
The Environment Ministry on Friday submitted an opinion paper to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, outlining its objection to the construction of the proposed 1,200-megawatt plant in the city of Ube, Yamaguchi Prefecture.
The plant is expected to come online in the first half of the next decade.
However, industry minister Yoichi Miyazawa said the opinion paper will not mean an immediate halt to the plant construction plan.
“It’s my understanding that the paper will not put a stop to the implementation of the construction plan,” Miyazawa told a news conference on Friday.
An official at Osaka Gas referred questions to Electric Power, which is better known as J-Power. Officials at J-Power were not immediately available for comment.
“We need to reduce coal as we make international pledges,” Mochizuki said, adding that Japan can make contributions to developing countries with Japan’s clean coal technology to reduce emissions. “It’s very important to strike a balance.”
Japan has plans for more than 23,000 megawatts worth of coal power units, according to data compiled by environmental group Kiko Network based in Kyoto.