Japan imports 200 million tonnes per year of coal of which 110 tonnes are consumed for power generation. There is a coal ambiguity: 100 inefficient coal plants (22 giga watt, GW) need to close before 2030, but 11 GW of “high efficient” new coal plants are under construction. The idea of co-burning ammonia and coal (20/80) in order to reduce the CO2 emissions is not a great solution. The most economical way to enact the energy transition in Japan is to convert existing coal power plants to another energy source (natural gas emits 50% less CO2, or biofuels). Coal fired power plants can survive in Japan, but they should not run on coal in the future. If Japan’s coal fired power plants were to converted to natural gas, the 46% target carbon reduction would immediately be obtained, way before 2030. The expectations for CCS (Carbon Capture Storage) and H2/ammonia appear high within the Japanese government but for the moment none of these solutions comes with any proven large-scale deployment.
- Japan should convert existing coal plants into plants using other energy sources, such as natural gas or biofuels.
- Japan should be less dependent on technology that is not yet ready for large-scale development.