• Japan pledges to reduce support for overseas coal plant development, while plans under way to redevelop domestic coal fleet may mean country misses decarbonisation target

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      Patrick Lavery

      Combustion Industry News Editor

The environment minister of Japan, Shinjiro Koizumi, has told the Financial Times that his government will reduce finance for coal power stations to be built in south-east Asia, after the country was criticised at last year’s UN climate conference in Madrid for the practice. Japan will still support the export of coal power turbines under some conditions (only when the buying country has a decarbonisation strategy, and only then exporting the most efficient ultra-supercritical generators), but the change in overall approach is described by My Koizumi as a “turning point”. As he put it to the FT, Japan’s view has until now been “if we can sell, then we should”, but from now is that “there will be no support” (although the new approach will not apply to projects currently in the planning stage). Domestically, there has also been some policy change in Japan in relation to coal, with 100 inefficient plants to be closed over the next ten years, two-thirds by capacity of which is to be replaced by highly efficient new plants. With Japan having 140 plants in total, this will be a huge change to its fleet, although the environment ministry has warned that the reconstruction would mean the electricity industry would struggle to achieve its carbon intensity of electricity of 0.37 kg CO2/kWh by 2030.