for Japanese


26 April, 2017

Japan’s Dependence on Thermal Power Remains High Despite Restart of NPPs

On April 21, Japan's Advisory Committee for Natural Resources and Energy released its outlook for the nation's electricity supply and demand this summer. A capacity reserve margin of three percent—the minimum requirement for a stable supply of electricity—will be secured in all ten electricity service areas of the country (Hokkaido, Tohoku, Tokyo, Chubu, Hokuriku, Kansai, Chugoku, Shikoku, Kyushu and Okinawa). Also, the national government will not request specific power-conservation actions, just as it had last winter.

TEPCO's Kashima thermal power plants; 6 units out of 7 were commissioned in 1970s.

The outlook for the summer will be finalized once discussions take place by the prime minister and others. They will also decide on measures for power supply and demand in the same period.

After Japan’s power retail market was fully deregulated in April 2016, the advisory committee, which has been looking at the electricity supply-and-demand outlook for both summer (July to September) and winter (December to March) since last winter, has been discussing the roles of the existing power utility companies and new entrants in the country’s ten electricity service areas.

Their discussions have included assessments of trading across the service areas, as presented in a report by the Organization for Cross-regional Coordination of Transmission Operators (OCCTO).

The maximum power demand for this summer was calculated on the assumption of a once-in-a-decade level of intense summer heat. The power supply amount was calculated on the basis of just those power sources that were determined to be reliable after careful examination.

As for the nuclear component of the power supply, 2,550MWe was included for August, slightly less than the total output of the Ikata-3 and Sendai-1 and -2 Nuclear Power Plants, which have restarted in two of the electricity service areas.

Although Japan’s dependence on thermal power has declined somewhat owing to more and more NPPs restarting, it remains high. Thirty-four so-called “aged” thermal power plants are expected to be in service this summer as well, leading possibly to unexpected outages.

With so many NPPs still shut down, the total fuel costs at Japan’s nine power utilities for the fiscal year ended March 2017 were estimated to have risen JPY1.3 trillion (USD11.8 billion at USD1=JPY110) from their FY10 level, representing a burden of about JPY10,000 (USD91) more per person nationwide.

Although that situation should improve as well, it nonetheless represents a major outflow of national wealth. Japan’s cumulative increase in fuel costs from FY10 through FY16 may be as much as JPY15.5 trillion (USD140.9 billion), or about JPY120,000 (USD1,091) per person.

In addition, the growing use of fossil fuels has caused increases in power rates and CO2 emissions, both of which also pose serious issues for the structure of power supply and demand.

Despite such issues, the Agency of Natural Resources and Energy (ANRE) will not ask for energy to be conserved nationwide, but rather implement measures for a “strained” supply-and-demand situation, such as:

  • Requesting that power utilities reinforce their maintenance of power generation facilities and equipment and the like.
  • Requesting that OCCTO take swift action, including power interchanges between regions as necessary.
  • Requesting that power utilities promote activities on the demand side, including demand-response actions.
  • Implementing a unified energy conservation campaign aimed at both the industry and ordinary consumers.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

SNS facebooktwitter

NPPs Map


Grossi on Fukushima: Marking a Decade Since the Accident

10 March, 2021
Grossi on Fukushima: Marking a Decade Since the Accident04:11

Recent News

21 October, 2021
Kishida Makes First Visit to Fukushima Since Becoming Prime Minister
15 October, 2021
LDP Adds SMR Development and Nuclear Fusion to NPP Restarts in Its Policy Manifesto
7 October, 2021
Kishida Administration Inaugurated, with New METI Minister Hagiuda Holding Press Conference on Taking Office
6 October, 2021
IAEA Holds 65th General Conference in Vienna, with Japanese Minister of State for Science and Technology Delivering Statement in the General Debate
30 September, 2021
JAEC Releases 2020 White Paper on Nuclear Energy
17 September, 2021
NRA Permits Shimane-2 under New Regulatory Standards
14 September, 2021
IAEA Deputy Director General Evrard Visits Japan in Advance of Safety Review of ALPS-treated Water
1 September, 2021
Evaluation Report Issued by IAEA’s Review Mission to Fukushima Daiichi: First Visit since 2018
24 August, 2021
METI and IAEA Agree on Further Review Missions to Fukushima Daiichi
4 August, 2021
JAEA Restarts High-Temperature Engineering Test Reactor “HTTR”
2 August, 2021
Information about Fukushima Daiichi NPS Water Treatment
28 July, 2021
METI’s Committee Shows Rough Draft of Next Strategic Energy Plan
2 July, 2021
Mihama-3 Restarted After Decade-long Hiatus: First Restart in Japan of a Reactor Operating Beyond 40 Years
28 June, 2021
Mihama-3 Restarts after Decade-long Hiatus
25 June, 2021
New Canada-Japan Partnership Supports Greater Collaboration to Meet Climate Change Objectives and Net-zero Goals
24 June, 2021
METI Issues New Green Growth Strategy Through Achieving Carbon Neutrality
16 June, 2021
ANRE Sticks to “S+3E”
16 June, 2021
Japanese Cabinet Approves Environmental White Paper 2021
16 June, 2021
LDP Parliamentary Association to Reconfirm Position on Utilization of Nuclear Power
16 June, 2021
Fukui Governor Concerned about Deletion of Reference to “Maximum Utilization” of Nuclear Power