The government’s push to shutter old coal-fired power plants by 2030 to rein in greenhouse gas emissions may force a major revision in business strategy for the power industry by depriving it of cheap coal power to drive profit growth.

Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Hiroshi Kajiyama announced earlier this month that the government is phasing out coal plants that aren't using the best available technology — ultrasupercritical (USC) or integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) — by 2030 as part of its goal of reigning in carbon emissions and raising Japan's use of renewable energy.

Among the nation's power plants, there are about 140 coal-fired units and about 100 of the older ones are likely to be decommissioned. This policy is therefore expected to have a larger impact on small utilities that are more reliant on fossil fuels to stay afloat.