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Japan’s J-Power steps up coal-fired power phase-out

  • : Coal, Electricity, Emissions, Fertilizers
  • 24/05/10

Japanese power producer and wholesaler J-Power is stepping up efforts to halt operations of inefficient coal-fired power plants, while pushing ahead with decarbonisation of its existing plants by using clean fuels and technology.

J-Power plans to scrap the 500MW Matsushima No.1 coal-fired unit by the end of March 2025 and the 250MW Takasago No.1 and No.2 coal-fired units by 2030, according to its 2024-26 business strategy announced on 9 May. It also aims to decommission or mothball the 700MW Takehara No.3 and the 1,000MW Matsuura No.1 coal-fired units in 2030.

The combined capacity of the selected five coal-fired units accounts for 32pc of J-Power's total thermal capacity of 8,412MW, all fuelled by coal.

While phasing out its ageing coal-fired capacity, J-Power is looking to co-fire with fuel ammonia at the 2,100MW Tachibanawan coal-fired plant sometime after 2030 and ensure it runs on 100pc ammonia subsequently. The company plans to increase the mixture of biomass at the 600MW Takehara No.1 unit, along with the installation of a carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology after 2030. The CCS technology will be also applied to the 1,000MW Matsuura No.2 unit, which is expected to co-fire ammonia, after 2030.

J-Power plans to use hydrogen at the 1,200MW Isogo plant sometime after 2035. The company is also set to deploy integrated coal gasification combined-cycle and CCS technology at the 500MW Matsushima No.2 unit and the 150MW Ishikawa No.1 and No.2 units after 2035.

The company aims to cut carbon dioxide emissions from its domestic power generation by 46pc by the April 2030-March 2031 fiscal year against 2013-14 levels before achieving a net zero emissions goal by 2050. This is in line with Tokyo's emissions reduction target. The company aims to expand domestic annual renewable output by 4TWh by 2030-31 compared with 2022-23, along with decarbonising thermal capacity. Its renewable generation totalled 10.4TWh in 2023-24.

Tokyo has pledged to phase out existing inefficient coal-fired capacity by 2030, which could target units with less than 42pc efficiency. The country's large-scale power producers have reduced annual power output from their inefficient coal-fired fleet by 13TWh to 103TWh in 2022-23 against 2019-20, according to a document unveiled by the trade and industry ministry on 8 May. It expects such power generation will fall further by more than 60TWh to 39.700TWh in 2030-31.

Global pressure against coal-fired power generation has been growing. Energy ministers from G7 countries in late April pledged to phase out "unabated coal power generation" by 2035 or "in a timeline consistent with keeping a limit of 1.5°C temperature rise within reach, in line with countries' net zero pathways".

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