Japan has fired up 8 new coal plants over the course of the last two years and has plans to add another 36 to its energy mix over the next decade, making it the largest proposed coal expansion after China and India.
In April, Japan committed to produce 26% of its energy mix from coal by 2030 in its national energy plan, which represents a significant shift away from its former reliance on nuclear.
This move comes following the Fukushima disaster in 2011, which saw all 54 of its nuclear reactors shutdown as they awaited new extensive safety standards. To date only seven of these have been reopened.
Last week, it was announced that the Japanese Ministry of Environment had agreed to allow the Japanese Coal Energy Centre and Kawasaki Heavy Industries to use its facilities to conduct carbon capture technology testing in the Wyoming Integrated Test Centre, which will also include an investment of between $7.3 million and $9.1 million.
Japan has turned to coal as its preferred source of energy due to the economic benefits it presents over importing expensive liquefied gas.
Growing demand in Japan and continued reliance on the commodity in India and China, supported by the US Trump administration, means coal is set to continue to play a significant role in the global energy mix.
This comes after an International Energy Agency (IEA) report, published in December 2017, predicted an increase in demand for coal through to 2022, with continued growth in India and other Asian countries.