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Japan in focus

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World Coal,

Coal still plays a fundamental role in providing baseload electricity and acting as a critical building block for many economies.

In the first of World Coal Association’s (WCA) snapshot series exploring coal’s role in countries across the globe, WCA takes a look at Japan – the third largest economy in the world and home to more than 120 million people.

Key energy facts

  • Given the size of its economy and advanced manufacturing sectors, Japan remains the world’s fifth largest energy consumer.
  • In 2017, fossil fuels made up 92% of the country’s energy demand.

Electricity outlook

  • In 2017, coal was the second largest source of electricity accounting for 33% of total generation.
  • Japan’s 2018 Basic Energy Plan recognises coal as an important, reliable and low cost baseload power source.
  • Japan has 20 GW of new coal-fired ultra-supercritical (USC) capacity already planned or under construction.

Low carbon technology leadership

  • As part of its climate pledge, Japan has committed to a 26%-reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2030.
  • Japan has some of the most advanced power plants in the world. Unit 2 at J-POWER’s Isogo thermal power plant has a gross thermal efficiency of 45%.
  • The Japanese government intends to support the deployment of high efficiency low emission (HELE) coal technologies overseas.
  • Since 2008, the country has engaged in several activities to promote carbon capture use and storage (CCUS): the large-scale Tomakomai demonstration project; various R&D projects; and surveys for potential CO2 storage sites.
  • The Basic Energy Plan promotes the development and deployment of low carbon technologies including CCUS and IGCC to meet GHG national emissions targets.

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