In January 31st, 2017, The Kansai Electronic Power C.O. (KEPCO) announced the reconsideration of the projects in Ako power plant in Hyogo Prefecture (planned capacity: 2 units of 60MW) which initially aimed the fuel conversion from oil to coal. This is the first case of cancelation of the nation-wide project of installing 48 additional coal fired power plant units.
Fuel Conversion Projects of Ako Power Plant: Petroleum to Coal, at This Point of Time?
Ako power plants started that operation in 1987, and KEPCO announced the fuel conversion project in 2015. It started the conversion of the boiler into coal-specified in 2015, aiming the operation starting in 2020.
However, the Governor of Hyogo Prefecture, Ako city council and the local residents blamed harshly for KEPCO who did not explain clearly about the environmental impacts and counter measures, which caused the delay of the project.,
KEPCO Practically Cancelled The Project: Minister of Envieonment Promote Future Reconsideration
On 31st of January 2017, KEPCO finally announced the reconsideration of the main project, which practically meant the abandonment of the project. This is the first official cancelation case in nation-wide installation of 48 coal fired units, and possibly spread widely to the other areas.
The Ministry of the Environment, Koichi Yamamoto, welcomed this reconsideration. He commented that the coal-fired power generation is an unpromising business and encouraged other utilities to reconsider their coal projects (snippet from NHK news report). Toshizo Ido, Governor of Hyogo Prefecture, talked about Ako project at press conference saying “Though they use the latest technology, coal-fired power plants emit more CO2 than previous ones. Local community have never welcomed this project from the beginning, so they should be relieved.”
Kiko Network also welcome the Ako’s judgement which is based on the lowered energy demand and intend to reduce Co2 emissions.
Kiko Network [Press Release] KEPCO Cancelled Coal Power Project in Hyogo – First out of 48 units (January 31st 2017)（Japanese PDF）
KEPCO [Press Release] Reconsideration of Ako Power Plant Fuel Conversion Project (Japanese)