Japan To Build 40+ New Coal Power Plants

japan coalJapan has 43 coal power projects either under construction or planned, representing combined capacity of 21,200 megawatts, according to a statement from the Kyoto-based Kiko Network. The projections would account for about half of what Japan could emit in 2050 under the current government’s target to cut emissions by 80 percent by that date, the group said. — Chisaki Watanabe, Bloomberg, 9 April 2015

Japan has a new blueprint for its energy future, one that opens the door for a controversial return of nuclear power four years after the Fukushima accident took the country’s reactors offline. But even more noteworthy is that Japan now appears set to embrace a dominant role for dirty coal in the country’s energy mix for decades to come. Japan’s increased reliance on coal to 2030 and beyond contrasts with many European countries, which despite the global financial crisis and years of sluggish growth have continued to put the fight against climate change at the center of their energy policies. –Keith Johnson, Foreign Policy, 8 April 2015

China said it will cut prices for electricity generated by coal-fired plants as part of efforts to lower companies’ operating costs and aid a struggling economy. The move contrasts with efforts by the government to rein in coal consumption that has contributed to pollution choking cities such as Beijing. —Bloomberg, 8 April 2015

Apparently Friday’s US jobs numbers disappointed the experts. The consensus forecast was that 250k jobs would have been created in March – yet only half the forecast actually appeared. Even more tellingly, hiring estimates for January/ February were revised down. Separate data also showed weak growth in wages and spending. None of this was really a surprise, however. There was plenty of evidence that US employment had simply seen a temporary boost from the shale gas bubble. –Paul Hodges, The Oil Voice, 8 April 2015

The exploration company UK Oil & Gas Investments claims that it has struck significant oil reserves at a well it has drilled in Horse Hill close to Gatwick airport in West Sussex. The company announced that analysis conducted on the site means that the well could yield up to 158 million barrels of oil per square mile. This suggests that the site could hold over 8.6 billion barrels of oil – just under a fifth of the amount that has been pumped out of the North Sea in the past 40 years. At the current oil price of around $58 a barrel, the reserves lying under the West Sussex countryside could be worth just under $500bn, or ¬£336bn. –Ben Wright, The Daily Telegraph, 9 April 2015

The Sierra Club’s anti-coal campaign is getting a boost of up to $60 million from donors including Michael Bloomberg, who pledged $30 million Wednesday to further the group’s new goal of shuttering half the nation’s coal-fired power plants by 2017. Bloomberg announced that more than a dozen additional donors have pledged to match Bloomberg Philanthropies’ $30 million commitment — bringing the total to $60 million. –Andrew Restuccia, Politico, 8 April 2015