POWER UTILITY | Krisana Gallezo-Estaura, Japan

Japan may experience power shortages this summer

Japan is still feeling the effects on its power supply as a result of the Fukushima tragedy last year.

According to Debajit Das, Managing Director of Aggreko Asia, when the unfortunate incident happened last year, it shook up the nuclear industry as such that it questioned the safety of running nuclear plants. Japan was looking at the safety of the plants and eventually shut them down amidst increasingly negative public sentiment against nuclear power.

“We’re talking about 36,000 megawatts, or 36 gigawatts, of nuclear plant power, or 76 percent of its total nuclear power output. One gigawatt from the grid is a lot of power. And if I’m not mistaken, last year they shut down nuclear plants till only 11 gigawatts were left running,” Mr. Das said. “When you consider the power gap that existed then, we are talking several millions of USD loss a day.”

Going into this summer, Japan has not yet decided to start any nuclear plants, and currently all of the nuclear plants there are shut down. Mr. Das warned that in two months’ time, if Japan does not have any alternative plans for its power supply, its industries might experience outages.

“As you know, Japan’s power industry suffered last year, and users were asked to conserve their electricity consumption. Given this, in order for Japan to address its current need for power, it will have to look at alternative solutions, (to me) it is almost inconceivable for Japan to go through summer without starting any of its nuclear plants, as the demand would be much greater than the supply,” he said.

Within a few days of the disaster, Aggreko entered into discussions with TEPCO to bring additional power to the grid. TEPCO moved swiftly to define an engineering solution which brought additional generating capacity to Japan.

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