JERA builds new coal but aims for zero carbon6 May 2021
Although it aspires to zero CO2 emissions by 2050, JERA, the Tepco/Chubu Electric 50:50 joint venture that provides about 30% of Japan’s electricity, has recently commissioned a new 650 MW ultrasupercritical coal fired power plant at its Hitachinaka site.
Above: JERA’s Hitachinaka site and the new coal plant
JERA says “it will continue to employ high-efficiency coal-fired power stations and develop decarbonisation technologies as part of its efforts to maintain a stable supply of electricity and reduce CO2 emissions.”
Under the “JERA Zero CO2 Emissions 2050” plan, the company says it aims to achieve “virtually zero CO2 emissions from JEZRA’s operations in Japan and overseas" with a three pronged strategy:
- Deployment of a complementary combination of renewables and zero CO2 emission thermal power generation, with adoption of renewables supported by dispatchable thermal power generation. JERA say it will promote the adoption of greener fuels and pursue thermal power that does not emit CO2 during power generation.
- Establishment of roadmaps suited to each country and region it operates in.
Since “the energy situation is different for each country and region”, JERA says it will work with stakeholders on a country and regional basis to establish roadmaps. “We have developed a roadmap for our business in Japan and will extend this approach to other countries and regions.”
- “Smart transition”: zero CO2 emissions will be achieved through a combination of technologies that are “available and reliable at the time adoption decisions are made, lowering technical risk and smoothing the transition to a green society.”
JERA says its targets are premised on “advances in decarbonisation technology, economic rationality, and consistency with government policies.”
JERA’s first step towards zero CO2 emissions in its domestic and overseas businesses by 2050 was establishment of a roadmap for its business in Japan. The main elements of the roadmap are shutdown of all inefficient coal power plants (supercritical or less) by 2030, and a gradual increase in the cofiring of ammonia and hydrogen with fossil fuels at thermal power plants.
JERA has also established environmental targets for its Japanese business for 2030:
- Shutdown all “inefficient” (supercritical or less) coal power plants and conduct demonstration tests of ammonia co-firing at ultra supercritical coal fired power plants.
- Promote the development of renewable energy centered on offshore wind power projects and work to further improve the efficiency of LNG thermal power generation.
- Reduce the carbon dioxide emissions intensity of thermal power plants by 20% based on the long-term energy supply-demand outlook for FY 2030 as set by the government.
Meanwhile, JERA is planning to develop a 600 MW (63 turbine) wind farm, the Southern Tsugaru project, off the coast of Tsugaru and Ajigasawa. It believes that the favourable wind conditions and shallow seabed in this location makes it a suitable area for the development of seabed-fixed offshore wind.
JERA says it aims to become a global leader in renewable energy, and has participated in offshore wind projects in the UK and Taiwan. It plans to build on this experience of construction and operation of large-scale offshore wind projects for Southern Tsugaru.