Why won’t Japan phase out coal-fired power plants?
1. Japan’s energy self-sufficiency is at 11.8% in 2018, which is lower than other OECD nations. It dropped from 20.3% in 2010.
Japan, where resources are scarce, needs to import fossil fuel (oil, coal, and LNG) from overseas. Japan has diversified its energy sources to reduce its reliance on fossil oil since the Oil Shock of the 1970s.
However, following the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011, Japan was forced to suspend nuclear power plant operations, which resulted in increased fire-power plant operations.
2. The difficulty of ensuring a stable supply of energy is because of the country's high reliance on foreign energy sources. Especially, 92% of oil is imported from the Middle East where political situation is unstable. Moreover, most LNG and coal are imported from Asia and Oceania.
3. Considering its national security, Japan needs to build an energy stockpile. Coal imported from nearby countries such as Australia, unlike LNG, can be stored.
4. As a result of Japan's limited energy supply, power generation costs are rising. Since the 2011 Earthquake, the electric power rate increased by 22% for homes and 25% for industry compared with the rates of 2010. Coal is a more cost-effective energy source than other sources, and it is a reliable source of energy.
5. Although Japan wants to increase renewable energy such as solar power, there is insufficient land space suitable for solar power generation due to the country's extensive forests.