News | April 27, 2021

Kansai, Marubeni Scrap Akita Coal-Fired Power Project

Osaka-based utility Kansai Electric Power and trading house Marubeni have cancelled a project to build a 1.3GW coal-fired power plant in the northeast Akita prefecture after a study concluded the project was no longer feasible.

The plant was Japan's last coal-fired power project that has not started construction. A tougher environment to develop new coal-fired power plants had pressured the companies to reconsider the project.

Kansai and Marubeni had planned to construct two coal-fired power plants in Akita city, targeting the commissioning of the 650MW No.1 unit in March 2024 and the 650MW No.2 unit in June 2024. The companies are studying the possibility of developing a biomass power plant instead of the coal-fired power plant, Kansai said.

Japanese coal-fired developers continue to face difficulty in building new coal-fired power plants because of growing environmental awareness and support for sustainable and responsible investment. Japanese banks, including Mitsubishi UFJ Financial, Mizuho Bank and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking have announced plans to move away from supporting coal-fired power projects domestically and overseas. J-Power this month decided to cancel its coal-fired power project at Ube in Yamaguchi prefecture.

But some coal-fired plants that had already started construction were brought on line. Kushiro Thermal Power commissioned a 112MW coal- and biomass-fired unit in December 2020, while joint venture Nakoso IGCC Power started commercial operation at Nakoso 525MW coal-fired power plant this month.

Japan plans to add eight more coal-fired power plants totalling 5.7GW. Those plants have already started construction with commercial operation scheduled for 2021-24. Japan's coal consumption for power generation totalled 106mn t in 2020, down by 2.2pc from 2019.

Source: Argus Media group