Japan’s atomic power costs set to rise by 50 per cent by 2030

The cost of nuclear generated electricity in Japan is set to skyrocket due to the Fukushima disaster but will remain cheaper than alternative energy sources.

A draft of a government panel report estimates that nuclear costs will soar by at least 50 to 70 per cent by 2030 compared to 2004 levels.

The panel’s estimates will help Japan formulate a new energy policy by next summer as it reassesses the role of nuclear power in the wake of the world’s worst atomic disaster in 25 years.

After the disaster, then prime minister Naoto Kan floated ambitious targets for renewable energy, pledging to wean Japan away from atomic power. But his successor Yoshihiko Noda has not gone that far, only acknowledging that public concerns will make it tough to build new reactors.

Prior to the diaster, Japan had planned to raise the share or nuclear generated power to 53 per cent, from a third by 2030.

The government panel has estimated that cleaning up the Fukushima disaster and compensating its victims could cost as much as 20 trillion yen ($257bn), which would boost the price of nuclear power by 8.9 to 10.2 yen/kWh compared with 2004 levels.

Three Gorges to invest $269m in China Power renewable energy producer

China Three Gorges Corp., operator of the nation’s biggest dam, agreed to pay HK$2.1 billion ($269m) for a 29.1 per cent stake in renewable energy producer China Power New Energy Development Co.

China is pushing its companies to increase generation from alternative sources such as hydro and wind to cut reliance on coal and oil.

The purchase will create “opportunities for the company’s further expansion through leveraging the hydro power capabilities and expertise” of China Three Gorges, said China Power New Energy.

Laos delays Xayaburi dam project

Laos has suspended a $3.5bn dam project on the lower Mekong River while Japan leads a study into the environmental impact.

Activists and some nearby states have argued that the project – led by Thai firms and set to feed 95 per cent of its power to Thailand – could damage the livelihood of millions.

Laos, Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia – which share the lower stretches of the 4900 km Mekong River – had failed to reach agreement on the dam in April.

Nuclear is key to Indonesia’s power demands, says minister

The building of new nuclear power plants in Indonesia is inevitable, according to a government minister.

Dahlan Iskan, minister for state enterprises, told an energy policy seminar at the House of Representatives that “whether we like it or not, nuclear power has to be added to the energy mix because it’s cheap and reliable”.

This view was supported by Tatang Soerwidjaja from the Bandung Institute of Technology, who predicted that Indonesia’s power consumption would quadruple by 2025.

“Such an extraordinary increase in a relatively small amount of time would be impossible to tackle without taking recourse to building nuclear power plants,” he added.

The government wants to build a nuclear plant on Bangka Island. If built, it would be operational in 2030 and supply 40 per cent of electricity to Sumatra, Java and Bali.

Indonesia currently consumes about 30 GW. But only 71 per cent of households are connected to the power grid and the population is expected to grow significantly and so is the demand for electricity.

Tepco may drop new reactor plan

Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) is likely to give up a plan to build the first nuclear reactor at its Higashidori plant in northern Japan, due to the cost of compensating those affected by the Fukushima Daiichi incident, reported the Yomiuri newspaper.

Tepco denied the report but has halted work on the 1385 MW No.1 unit at the plant, due online in March 2017. Another planned Tepco reactor – the 1385 MW No.2 reactor at Higashidori, due online in 2020 – is also likely to be dropped, according to the newspaper report.

No Japanese power companies have yet publicly abandoned construction of new nuclear units.

South Korea raises power price again

South Korea has raised electricity prices by an average of 4.5 per cent on 5 December, the second rise this year as higher fuel costs affect the country’s monopoly power distributor Korea Electric Power Corp (Kepco).

The adjustment follows a 4.9 per cent hike in August and will enable Kepco to cover 87 per cent of its generating costs, said the Knowledge Economy Ministry.

Kepco had posted three straight years of losses as government controls on prices prevented it from fully pass on higher fuel costs to users.


Asia: A $500m private equity fund for renewable energy projects in Asia is to be launched by Malayan Banking and Singapore investment bank Maybank to invest in wind, solar, geothermal, small hydroelectric, biomass and biofuels projects in China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, Vietnam and Cambodia.

China: China’s shale gas production will overtake that in the US within ten years, said Fu Chengyu, chairman of state-run Sinopec. China aims to produce 15-30 billion m3 of shale gas a year by 2020, he said.

India: US solar power developer SunEdison has raised $110m in debt to fund solar schemes in India. The loans are for 15 years and will help fund the construction of several projects which together will account for a total capacity of 50 MW.

Indonesia: Marubeni and Toshiba Corp have won an order to build a 55 MW geothermal plant from Indonesia’s PT Geo Dipa Energi. The plant in the suburbs of Bandung southeast of Jakarta will operate from 2014, said the companies.

Japan: Kyushu Electric has taken its 559 GW Genkai reactor offline for routine work, leaving Japan with nine reactors operating out of the country’s total of 54.

Malaysia: Independent power producer Malakoff Corp has clinched a 25-year PPA via its subsidiary Tanjung Bin Energy to generate and sell electricity to Tenaga Nasional from a new 1000 MW coal fired power plant, to be built next to the firm’s facilities in Tanjung Bin, Johor.

Pakistan: The first unit at the 96 MW Jinnah Hydropower Project will be operational by the end of this month, said the Water Resources and Power Development Authority. Jinnah is a run-of-river scheme on the River Indus adjacent to Jinnah Barrage in Mianwali district.

Thailand: Thai Solar Energy is to spend $447m in a five-year plan to establish 135 MW. The company – Southeast Asia’s only solar-thermal energy producer – aims to develop 13 projects to reach its target.

Vietnam: Malaysi’s Toyo Ink Group has a green light to research constructing the 2000 MW Song Hau 2 plant in the southern province of Hau Giang, with an investment of $2.5bn, the provincial authority said.

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