The Ministry of Economic Affairs has pledged to stop expansion of coal-fired power generation capacity and cut thermal power output by 1% annually in the following two years, in accordance with the outcome of referendum late last year.
At a press conference on Jan. 31, the ministry reported that 1% cut on thermal power output annually in 2019 and 2020 can be achieved, without sacrificing stability of power supply.
It, though, admitted difficulty in cutting thermal power output at the same rate from 2021, given high share of thermal power in the nation's power supply mix (86%) and difficulty in expanding the outputs of green power and nuclear power.
The ministry discounted the feasibility of resorting to nuclear power to solve the nation's power supply problem, as called for by the outcome of the referendum, citing difficulty in postponing the decommissioning of the generating units of first and second nuclear power plants and activating the fourth nuclear power plant.
It is, said the ministry, too late to apply for reactivation of the first generator of the first nuclear power plant, which has entered the stage of decommissioning, or deferral of the decommissioning of the plant's second generator, whose operating license will expire in July this year. The ministry also pointed to the difficulty for postponing the decommissioning of the generators of the second and third nuclear power plants, citing expiration of the deadline for applying for postponement of decommissioning, opposition of municipal governments, absence of outlets for nuclear wastes, and difficulty in having the legislature pass the budget for postponement of decommissioning. Moreover, it will take at least six to seven years to reactivate the fourth nuclear power plant, including overcoming the opposition of the legislature, difficulty in obtaining back-up digital security control equipment, need to renegotiate contract with the original supplier, and check of fuel rods by the original supplier.
The MOEA stressed that given the gloomy outlook for nuclear power and coal-fired power, green power and fuel gas-fired power will become mainstay in power supply, urging the pubic to support the development plans for PV power, wind power, and fuel gas-fired power, as well as LNG (liquefied natural gas) terminal projects. The government is pushing at steady pace energy transformation, assuring maintenance of margin power capacity rate at 15% and standby reserve capacity at 10%, according to the ministry.
(Source: the Bureau of Energy, MOEA; first photo courtesy of Clyde Robinson via Flickr CC BY 2.0)