2018/06/05 Cancellation of Sendai coal project a step in the right direction

プレスリリース - 2018-06-05
Tokyo, 5 June 2018 - Greenpeace Japan welcomes the Sumitomo Corporation’s announcement made on Friday 1 June, saying they are abandoning a plan to build a coal-fired power plant in Sendai, Japan.

“The news are a win for the local movement, which has been opposing the coal expansion due to concerns for climate change and air quality” said Hisayo Takada, Energy Project Leader of Greenpeace Japan. The movement has been supported by NGOs Kiko Network and Greenpeace Japan, for example by sharing of expert information and conducting research in air pollution impacts of planned coal plants.

“The decision by Sumitomo Corporation to cancel the coal plant is a welcome move in terms of climate change mitigation and air quality protection. Every new coal power plant in Japan is in violation of the country’s commitment to the Paris Agreement, as there is no available room for additional emissions in the carbon budget Japan needs to follow in order to stay under 2 degrees of warming.” said Takada.

The planned power plant was to use coal with around 30% portion of biomass for electricity production, with capacity of 112MW and projected annual CO2 emissions of 672,000 tons [1]. According to the company’s statement, the plan to use coal has now been completely dropped, and the project will go forward as a biomass-only plant instead.

The project came under attention earlier this spring, when a project partner Shikoku Electric pulled out of it due to economical unviability [2]. In the statement about the change to biomass plant, Sumitomo Corporation explained their decision was due to the local government’s recently revised guidelines regarding air and water quality measures.

The statement by Sumitomo Corporation does not disclose the details about the type of biomass to be used in the new project, but in the reporting by Kahoku Shimpo [3], there is consideration to use North American pellet. Greenpeace Japan urges Sumitomo to publicize and confirm further information about the plan so that the new option’s sustainability can be verified. Due to the environmental impacts connected to certain forms of biomass, Sumitomo and other Japanese utilities are encouraged to diversify the mix of renewable energy sources in future projects, taking into account the full life-cycle environmental impacts of each alternative, as well as consulting with the local community.

[1] Kiko Network: Seindaiko Takamatsu power plant information
[2] Kiko Network press release 
[3] Kahoku Shimpo article

Chisato Jono, Communications Officer, Greenpeace Japan, email: , mob: +81 (0) 80-6558-4446