Japan Environment Minister Won’t Back Another Coal-Fired Plant

(Bloomberg) — Japan’s environment minister said he won’t
support a new coal power station planned for central Japan, the
latest push by the ministry to rein in coal projects to control
the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions.

The move, by Yoshio Mochizuki, pits the environment
ministry against the trade and industry ministry, the government
body ultimately responsible for approving the project and a
supporter of coal as a replacement for nuclear-generated power
and more-expensive liquefied natural gas.

Mochizuki’s comment on the project planned for Aichi
prefecture is the latest concern expressed by the minister about
resurging interest in coal-fired projects.

In a statement, Mochizuki said the 1,070-megawatt coal-fired unit planned by Chubu Electric Power Co. may threaten
Japan’s efforts to reduce emissions. The project would replace
three oil-fired units which began operations in 1972.

Mochizuki flagged the issue of Japan’s emissions targets in
June when he said a coal-fired project planned by a venture
between Osaka Gas Co. and Electric Power Development Co. for the
western prefecture of Yamaguchi is problematic.

Last month, Japan submitted its reduction targets to the
United Nations ahead of climate talks in Paris at the end of the
year. Japan is the world’s fifth-largest emitter of greenhouse
gases.

Emissions Targets

Japan is proposing a 26 percent cut to emissions from 2013
levels by 2030. The power industry in July announced a voluntary
target of 35 percent emissions cut from 2013 levels by 2030
after being urged by the government.

In addition, Mochizuki said the power industry needs to
come up with detailed plans to reduce emissions soon and should
consider what to do if emission cuts fall short of the target.

While Mochizuki has become increasingly vocal about coal
developments, the trade and industry ministry has sole
discretion to grant building approvals. The environment
ministry’s role is to oversee environmental impact assessments
as they relate to power projects.

To contact the reporter on this story:
Chisaki Watanabe in Tokyo at
cwatanabe5@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Reed Landberg at
landberg@bloomberg.net
Iain Wilson, Abhay Singh

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