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After Fukushima Nuclear Disaster, Japan Moves toward Coal and Gas Power


natural gasIn wake of Tokyo’s struggles with moving away from costly oil, Japan is planning to build 14 new gas and coal-fired power plants by the end of 2014.

Two of the planned coal power plants will be finished by December, and the other 12 gas-fired plants will be completed during 2014. They will use liquefied natural gas (LNG) and coal in order to allow Japan to gradually move away from crude and fuel oil plants. This also means that should a power outage occur, Japan has a host of backups when generation plants go offline.

In March 2011, a massive earthquake and tsunami hit the Fukushima nuclear power station which caused three reactor meltdowns and hydrogen explosions. Public faith in nuclear power has never been the same, and Japan hasn’t done itself any favors with a botched clean up job.

Now that Japan is without nuclear power, the country has no choice but to look at inexpensive and safe alternatives.

According to data from the International Energy Agency (IEA), the 14 plants will cost an estimated $7 billion to build but will add 6.4% more fossil fuel capacity by the end of 2014.

A few of the corporations that stand to directly benefit are Mitsubishi Heavy, General Electric, Hitachi, and Mitsubishi Electric.

In 2014, Gas-fired units will add 5.2 gigawatts of capacity, or 7.8%, to the 66.3 gigawatts the power firms now operate, according to industry data. The IEA estimates plants with such power output would cost about $4.5 billion.

It is predicted that utilities will keep the new gas-fired units in operation by providing long-term supply contracts due to start in 2014, as in the case of Exxon Mobil’s PNG LNG plant, rather than from spot market purchases.

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