Japan plans to start up 14 new gas and coal-fired power plants by the end of 2014, allowing a switch away from pricey oil, as Tokyo struggles with a shutdown of nuclear reactors and energy imports drive a record trade deficit.
Regional power monopolies will construct 12 gas-fired units next year, while two new coal power plants will be completed by December 2013, according to a Reuters survey of utilities.
The new power plants will buy liquefied natural gas (LNG) and coal to scale back on the use of expensive crude and fuel oil plants. They will also give Japan a bigger buffer to prevent future power outages when generation plants go offline.
“What this will do is introduce an additional reserve margin into the power network, particularly in areas where some nuclear is coming back,” said Nicholas Browne, a senior analyst with Wood Mackenzie in Singapore.
Japan on gas, coal power building spree to fill nuclear void