Japan maintains coal power strategy despite pressure
By Paul Homewood
Takafumi Kakudo, director of the clean coal division at the Japanese ministry of economy, trade and industry has stated in an interview, “It is not realistic to quit coal entirely.”
Kakudo was responding to questions as to why Japan was not being deterred from its coal power programme in the face of the global deal to curb coal in Paris in December.
“Environmental aspects alone can’t dictate the way countries set their energy policies,” Kakudo said, who added that Japan will help developing countries adopt the best available technologies for coal-fired power plants.
The country believes helping developing nations around the word to develop more efficient coal-fired plants will lead to reduced carbon dioxide emissions. The nation’s financing of coal-fired projects is also helping to improve energy security in countries that still rely on the cheap fuel, officials say.
Asian countries such as India and Indonesia are planning to add more coal capacity to meet growing power demand. Japanese companies such as Toshiba Corp. have plans to supply equipment to such coal-fired plants, while the state-owned Japan Bank for International Cooperation has provided loans for projects abroad.
“We want to make our contribution so these countries can reduce emissions,” Kakudo said, adding that Japan is also ready to provide support for gas-fired power projects.
The government has been promoting exports of technologies for coal- and gas-fired power. In a set of infrastructure export strategies adopted in May, the government said it will push for energy-related infrastructure such as high-efficiency thermal power plants and equipment to remove air pollutants.
Japan plans to continue relying on coal-fired power plants at home, too. It has plans for 48 projects totalling about 23 GW in various stages of development.
An extra 23 GW of coal fired capacity would be capable of supplying around 16% of Japan’s electricity, about half the amount generated by nuclear prior to Fukushima.