On May 29, Japan’s Organization for Cross-Regional Coordination of Transmission Operators (OCCTO) put forward an electricity supply and demand projection for the coming summer, which was reported to the Advisory Committee for Natural Resources and Energy on May 30.
According to the projection, a capacity reserve margin of three percent—the minimum requirement for a stable supply of electricity—is expected to be secured nationally and in all electricity service areas. In the Tokyo area, however, in the peak month of July, the margin is expected to be only 3.1%, barely above what is necessary. Even with inclusion of additional supply through the public auctions that have been held since the winter of 2021 to secure additional capacity (“kW auctions”) during high demand seasons, the situation remains unpredictable.
In anticipation of such events as the unplanned suspensions of power plant operation, OCCTO will consider additional measures in cooperation with the national government and operators. It is also strengthening surveillance mechanisms (power supply and demand monitoring), and is preparing to notify the public via social media in advance of difficult power-supply situations.
At the end of March, the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy (ANRE), under the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), presented a basic course of actions for power shortage countermeasures this summer. ANRE said, “In part because the winter in 2022 was relatively warm, there was no effect on supply stability caused by difficulties with fuel procurement. With the Ukraine situation continuing, however, and if demand increases in other countries, the procurement of fuels, including LNG, is expected to become more competitively difficult.”
ANRE has been working to secure supply capacities for the future. In the Tokyo area, JERA Co. successfully bid at a kW auction based on Unit 2 of its Hirono Thermal Power Station (heavy oil and crude oil, 600MW), which has long been scheduled for shutdown, and an additional 576MW for July and August was added to supply capacity this summer.
Nuclear power supply capacity reached a total of 8,570MW in Kansai, Shikoku, and Kyushu during the winter 2022 national maximum demand period. (Demand peaked nationwide at 159,670MW between 9:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. on January 25, the highest since the giant earthquake of March 11, 2011.) Supply capacity this summer is estimated at a total of 9,550MW in the three areas in August.