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MoE Launches follow-up committee on Guidelines for Small-Scale Thermal Power Generation

On December 26th, 2014, the Ministry of the Environment (MoE) held the first meeting to follow up on the guidelines of environmental preservation measures for small-scale thermal power generation.

Prior to this meeting, the MoE put together a set of guidelines,for business operators planning to introduce small-scale thermal power plants,to take measures to preserve the environment.
The Environmental Impact Assessment Law exempts
the construction of small thermal power plants under 10~112.5MW.
The follow-up meeting was organized based on the fact
that the number of small-scale thermal plant construction projects is increasing.
The committee will follow up the actual status of the guidelines’ implementation
and improve them if necessary.

At the meeting, the MoE unveiled there were 18 new thermal power plants within 30~112.5MW,
for a total production of 1,600MW, announced to be installed in Japan.

While committee members noted some technical points,
the committee’s chairman Professor Mitsuru Tanaka (Hosei University) pointed out the following issues:
1) business operators need to harmonize with local residents by adopting higher standards;
and 2) it is important to follow-up the small scale thermal power projects under 112.5MW through this committee, since EIA does not require communication with local residents to such small projects.

Also, Professor Tanaka made points in relation to CO2 emissions,
noting that it is important to consider the long term lock-in effect by choosing types of fuel at this stage and the impact on long-term climate goals.

The next follow-up meeting is going to be held in February.
The results of these meetings will be summarized in March.
As the deregulation of the electric power industry moves forward,
what is going to happen if the number of small-scale coal fired power plants increases further?

This has to stop.