Energy Blog

How realistic are Japan's coal-fired power plans?

Japan has more than 40 coal-fired power units in various stages of planning. But with a number of obstacles in their way—returning nuclear power capacity, strong environmental commitments, and a weak outlook for power demand growth—IHS Markit examines how realistic it is that all of these plans will come to fruition and how coal burn levels will develop.

  • Significant new coal-fired capacity is planned. Japan has a raft of new coal plants in the pipeline, with more than 20 GW of capacity under construction, under assessment, or in planning. Some 6 GW is currently under construction and is expected to come online during the next four years.
  • Construction of new coal plants is threatened by Japan’s commitment to climate change. Japan aims to reduce energy-oriented carbon dioxide emissions to 26% below 2013 levels by 2030. The addition of significant net coal-fired capacity is at odds with this target, and, as a result, some of the planned projects currently under assessment are at risk of not being built.
  • Nuclear restarts and weak power demand growth will curb coal burn. IHS Markit expects nuclear capacity restarts, along with weak power demand growth and stricter environmental policy, to weaken coal-fired generation and consequently drive down steam coal imports.

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Jonathan Pascoe is a Senior Research Analyst at IHS Markit.
Posted 10 October 2017 

About The Author

Jonathan Pascoe, IHS Markit Senior Research Analyst, covers all aspects of the global steam coal market including demand, supply, freights, prices, and cost analysis and contributes Strategic Reports to the Global Steam Coal service. Mr. Pascoe joined IHS Markit through the acquisition of McCloskey and is coauthor of the IHS Markit Steam Coal Forecaster publication. He has contributed research for several consulting projects in steam coal market assessments and price outlooks, coal supply studies, and litigation processes. Mr. Pascoe holds a BSc from the University of Surrey.