Following the Fukushima disaster, Japan has continued its commitment to use coal to provide reliable and resilient electricity as nuclear’s reputation remain unpalatable.
Despite Japan’s Paris Climate Accord pledge that no effort would be spared in combating climate change, the 2011 disaster has made restarting the country’s nuclear plants a highly unpopular decision, forcing the government to shift to the use of coal for reliable and affordable energy.
Since 2012, Japan has begun the construction of 50 new coal-fired power plants and has done so with clean coal technologies to help reduce emissions.
A 2018 report from the non-governmental organisation Climate Analytics said: “Japan already has 45 gigawatts of operating coal-fired generation capacity and plans to add about 18 gigawatts of new coal, of which 5 gigawatts are already under construction.”
Japan is now looking to export its new-generation coal-fired power technologies, considered to be significantly cleaner than old systems.
Tokyo-based Electric Power Development Co. operates its Isogo coal power plant in Yokohama with a low carbon, high efficiency operation that uses “ultra-supercritical pressure” to rotate turbines, releasing a relatively low amount of carbon dioxide.
The technologies have attracted huge levels of international interest, with the Isogo plant alone receiving 5,300 visitors between 2017 and 2018, 800 of whom were from abroad – many of which were government and power company officials from China, Indonesia and Thailand.