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Japan sets new gas-fired cogeneration target

The Japan Gas Association has announced plans to rapidly increase the number of cogeneration units in the country powered by natural gas.

According to Mitsunori Torihara, the association’s chairman, it would be possible to increase the number of cogeneration units to supply 10-20% of Japan’s power requirements. This would involve generating 30,000 MW of power by 2030, up from 4600 MW currently.

Japan is already the world’s largest liquefied natural gas (LNG) importer and the move will require an increase in imports of 74%.

Under this scenario, Japan’s gas industry would have to import around 40 million tonnes of LNG a year, up from 23 million tonnes imported in the year to March 2011.

The announcement comes at a time when utilities have been struggling to ensure stable supplies ahead of the winter demand peak following fears about the safety of nuclear power because of the Fukushima crisis.

To meet fast-rising Japanese demand, LNG cargoes have been re-exported to Japan from Spain and the Belgian port of Zeebrugge in recent weeks.

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