Regional power plants in Japan consumed a record volume of coal in August, while cutting their use of oil and other fuel sources, due to the comparatively high prices.
Electricity supply in Japan is carried out by independent regional electric power companies. In 1952, the nine electric power companies established the Federation of Electric Power Companies (FEPC) to promote smooth operations within the industry. With the return of Okinawa to Japan in 1972, the Okinawa Electric Power Company rejoined Japan’s electric power industry, becoming an FEPC member in March 2000.
According to the FEPC, Japans utilities used about 5.7 million t of coal in August, representing an increase of 21% compared to a year previously. This figure is the highest amount of coal consumed since the Federation began compiling figures in 1972.
Fuel oil and crude demand fell by 28% and 4.7%, respectively.
Coal use in Japan has increased year on year since 2011. Tokyo Electric Power Co. began test operations at two coal-fired power plants in April, while Tohoku Electric Power Co. resumed commercial operations at a coal-fired unit in March, after it was shut down by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
Prior to the earthquake, Japan’s utilities generated around 30% of the country’s power from Nuclear generators, however, the only remaining operating nuclear reactor in the country will be shut in September for maintenance.
Japan is yet to announce a timeline or schedule for restarting any of the country’s nuclear facilities.
Edited from various sources by Sam Dodson
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