Japan Kills Climate Agenda, Turns Back To Coal

  • Date: 26/04/13
  • Brian Robins, The Sydney Morning Herald

The Japanese government is moving to speed up the environmental assessment process for new coal-fired power plants as its power sector struggles with a surging energy bill in the wake of the forced idling of much of the country’s nuclear power plants following the Fukushima power plant meltdown in 2011.

At present, it can take up to four years for approvals for new plants to be processed.

According to Japanese media reports, the government intends to make 12 months the maximum period for assessing and approving new coal-fired power plants as its utilities seek to develop more power stations to stem surging energy supply bills.

The closure of much of the country’s nuclear power capacity following Fukushima has forced the utilities to restart idled oil-fired power plants, which has pushed up energy bills significantly since oil is the most expensive fuel source.

And with the government considering the closure of much of the installed nuclear capacity over the medium term, the spotlight is back on coal as the cheapest energy source, notwithstanding plans to cut carbon emissions.

A commitment to slice 2020 carbon emissions by 25 per cent from their 1990 level will be revised by October, according to Japanese newspaper reports.

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