By:  Kiko Network

On March 23rd, Tonen General Sekiyu and Kanden Energy Solution Co. (KENES) announced to cancel the plan to build a 1,000-megawatt coal-fired power plant. According to the release, Tonen General Sekiyu and Kanden Energy Solution Co. decided not to consider the commercialization of the project based on the “changes in the feasibility and the surrounding environment”. Among the 49 units under plan since 2012, this became the second case of cancellation since Kansai Electric Power Company (KEPCO) announced to cancel the retrofit project of Ako power plant in Hyogo in January 2017. This became the first case of cancellation on a new construction project.

Last year the environmental minister disapproved this plan in the document of the environmental impact assessment. In addition, in the electricity supply plan of the Organization for Cross-regional Coordination of Transmission Operators (OCCTO) released last year, it was evident that the utilities’ plans to increase supply capacity was excessive. Furthermore, opposition by the local people has been getting larger. Taking into consideration of an economic, social and environmental risks, this plan should have been cancelled. We welcome the companies’ the sensible and rational decision.

Also the Ministry of the Environment’s “evaluation on the progress of global warming countermeasures of the electric utility industry” released on March 2017 states that “given the increase in construction plans of coal-fired power plants, it can exceed Japan’s greenhouse gas reduction target of FY2030 by about 70 million tons of CO2”.

In light of the 1.5-2 degree temperature goal of the Paris Agreement, not only new construction of coal power plants is not acceptable, but also existing coal plants have to be phased out.  As other nations move beyond coal, divestment campaigns against the coal industry is spreading and assets are becoming stranded. Having consider the situation, other developers who plan to construct new coal fired power plants should also make decision to cancel their plans.

Many construction plans are concentrated in Chiba prefecture, near Tokyo area. Kiko Network took the projects in Chiba seriously. Also the movement was getting large as concerned local people established citizen group. The cancellation of this large project is a great accomplishment for both Kiko Network and the local people. The trend against coal-fired power projects in Japan is clearly changing. We are determined to continue to intensively track the remaining 45 other plans, collaborate with the local people and enlarge the scale of the movement.