ENVIRONMENT | Staff Reporter, Japan

Japanese utilities' use of coal inched higher by 4%

While LNG consumption edged down 1.6%.

LNG consumption by Japan's five key power utilities stood at 35.9 million mt over April-December 2016, down 1.6% from the same period a year ago, while their use of coal edged up by 4%, data released by five utilities, according to S&P Global Platts.

The key five Japanese utilities are Tokyo Electric Power Co., Chubu Electric, Kansai Electric, Tohoku Electric and Kyushu Electric.

Their combined crude/fuel oil consumption fell 38% year on year to 83,849 b/d.

Here's more from S&P Global Platts:

Kansai Electric's LNG use rose 5.4% year on year to 6.41 million mt during the April-December period as its Aioi power station's two units, each with a capacity of 375 MW, became enabled to burn natural gas other than fuel oil and crude oil, starting from fiscal year 2016-17 (April-March).

Osaka Gas has agreed to supply gas via the Himeji-Okayama pipeline to these Aioi units. Including the volume it received from Osaka Gas, Kansai Electric overall consumed 6.64 million mt of LNG over April-September.

Kansai Electric also said this week that it has canceled its plan to switch fuel used at its Ako power plant from fuel/crude oil to coal. The Ako plant has two units with a total output capacity of 1.2 GW. Tepco's LNG use fell 6% year on year to 14.97 million mt over April to December, as its electricity sales slipped 1.9% year on year to 177.12 billion kWh for that period.

On renewables, solar accounted for around 5% of combined power generated by five utilities.

Renewable contribution was the highest for Kyushu Electric where solar accounted for nearly 10% of its overall power generation.

Japan's regulator has approved safety of two units at Kyushu Electric's Genkai nuclear plant, paving the way to restart the 1.18-GW No. 3 and 1.18-GW No. 4 nuclear units in addition to already operating two Sendai nuclear units. Nuclear and other renewables contributed 19.9% of Kyushu Electric's overall power generation for the nine months to December, compared with 19% a year ago, Kyushu Electric said.

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