A Free-Market Energy Blog

King Coal: India, Japan Update

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- March 15, 2023

“In a free energy market, Solar + Wind would be whittled down to less than 1-2% of total electricity on [India’s] Grid.” (C. S. Krishandev, below)

“Yokosuka is one of the 22 new coal-fired power plants planned to be built in Japan by 2025, and it is the only coal-fired facility being constructed in Japan’s Greater Tokyo area.” (NS Energy, below)

Two recent social media posts by independent energy consultant C. S. Krishnadev provide an interesting look at recent coal developments. One is on India electricity demand, the other on a coal-for-oil/gas plant conversion in Japan. The upshot: Coal has many decades left as a primary energy to generate electricity.

India Current

Krishnadev provided an interesting update on India’s electrical generation mix:

In a 24 hr period, India consumes 4.2 billion Kwh of electricity. The totality of services, manufacturing & housing consumes this much juice. This figure is what’s important. Not installed capacity stats. Of this, between 3.2 – 3.6 billion Kwh is produced entirely using Coal. Wind + Solar barely contribute 0.4 billion Kwh.

Our electricity consumption, as rapidly rising as it is, pales in comparison to China which has a daily average consumption of 23 billion Kwh ( 6x India). Now here’s the interesting part, both China & India are growing their power consumption by double digits.

India obviously lags behind, because large portions of the country are still stuck in energy poverty, power cuts happen, manufacturing is shackled, businesses take long time to get started, and the pace of growth, while encouraging, leaves a lot to be desired.

Were India to close the gap with China (which I’m optimistic it will) and bring its power consumption to 30-35 billion Kwh per day, it needs a thermal generation increase of 400% of what presently exists (at least).

Now, one perspective is that 0.4 billion of 4.2 billion Kwh is only a “transitional phase”…. Only reason why this 9-10% of Solar + Wind electricity exists is because it is propped up by Government diktat. You are talking must-run status, keeping a 2x spinning reserves of fossil fuels while they are in operation and whole host of other measures, which I’ll have to write a long form post.

In a free energy market, Solar + Wind would be whittled down to less than 1-2% of total electricity on Grid.

Every new manufacturing unit which comes up, every family which moves up from poverty and is able to afford a refrigerator, every new concrete structure that’s built be it school, hospital, bridge or housing has to lean entirely and exclusively on Coal.

If you look at actual consumption numbers the notion that there is some kind of Coal “phase out”, some “energy transition”, “decarbonisation” is rank delusional. There are political reasons why the chorus of net-zero has to be sung. It has zero economic relevance.

Krishnadev then summarizes the energy efficiency of coal relative to dilute, intermittent alternatives.

If you ditch the Enron accounting of de-carbonization, power generation math is very simple:

You need one pound of Coal for 1 Kwh. You need 100 sqft Solar Panel for 1 Kwh. You need 1500 sqft of land for Wind Turbine area to produce 1 Kwh.

Land is finite. Expensive. Non-Renewable. In much of the world, land competes for housing, public infra, and Farming. Furthermore, weather dictated dumps of Kwh from Solar + Wind make it worthless.

Coal is available in near infinite amounts on every continent, which makes it unsanctionable. As a side effect it produces CO2 essential for growing crops and sustaining life.

Yokosuka Coal-fired Power Plant

Krishnadev linked to this article on the in-development 1,300-MW Yokosuka Coal-fired Power Plant located in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan, which will replace a former oil and gas-fired power plant. Started in August 2019, Unit #1 will become operational this year and Unit #2 next year (no Plant Vogtle #3 and #4 here).

A 1.3 GW coal-fired power plant is under construction at the former Yokosuka thermal power station site near the port of Kurihama, in the Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan.

Yokosuka is one of the 22 new coal-fired power plants planned to be built in Japan by 2025, and it is the only coal-fired facility being constructed in Japan’s Greater Tokyo area.

The Yokosuka coal-fired power plant is being developed by Japan’s Energy for New Era (JERA), a 50:50 joint venture between Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) and Chubu Electric.

Construction on the 1.3 GW Yokosuka coal-fired facility was started in August 2019, while the two new units are scheduled to come online by 2023 and 2024, respectively.

Location and site details

The two-unit coal-fired power plant is being developed on the former Yokosuka thermal power plant site that has a 60-year long history of serving Japan’s electricity needs. The Yokosuka thermal power plant is located on a 202 acre-site near the Yokosuka city in the Kanagawa Prefecture, in Japan’s Tokyo Bay area.

Yokosuka coal-fired power plant details

The Yokosuka coal-based power plant will be equipped with two ultra-supercritical (USC) coal-fired units of 650MW capacity each. The USC units are designed to operate at greater efficiency by utilising a lesser amount of coal and emitting lesser quantities CO2 and SO2 compared to conventional coal-fired units.

JERA proposed to replace the pre-existing Yokosuka thermal power facility with two modern and efficient coal-fired generating units in September 2016. It established the special-purpose company JERA Power Yokosuka to build and operate the new coal-based power plant at the Yokosuka site in March 2017.

The final environmental impact assessment (EIS) for the 1.3GW Yokosuka coal-fired power project was approved by the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI), Government of Japan, in November 2018.

Controversy over the Yokosuka coal power project

In 2019, the Yokosuka coal-fired power project witnessed protests and opposition from local environmental groups against the CO2 emissions and air pollutants from the new generating units.

A group of residents of Yokosuka also sued the central government against the approval of an allegedly simplified environmental impact assessment report for the project by launching an administrative lawsuit in the Tokyo District Court in May 2019.

Yokosuka thermal power station history

Named after the nearby city, the Yokosuka thermal power station was developed with eight generating units for a total installed capacity of 2.2 GW. It was owned and operated by TEPCO Fuel & Power, a subsidiary of TEPCO.

The facility comprised six 350 MW steam turbine units running on heavy and crude oil, and two gas turbine units of 30 MW and 144 MW capacities that operated on light oil and city gas.

The six 350 MW oil-fired units were commissioned between 1964 and 1970, while the 30 MW gas turbine unit was brought online as an emergency generating facility in July 1971 and the 144 MW gas turbine unit was commissioned in September 2007.

All of the operating units at the Yokosuka thermal power station were decommissioned between 2004 and 2010.

However, in the wake of the March 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and the Fukushima Daichi nuclear disaster, two 350 MW oil-fired units, as well as two gas turbine units of the Yokosuka thermal power plant, were restarted and operated as an emergency power generating facility until 2014.

All units of the Yokosuka thermal power station were fully decommissioned by March 2017.

One Comment for “King Coal: India, Japan Update”

Leave a Reply