Kansai Electric's carbon emissions grew 40 pct in 2011-12
* Kansai's CO2 emissions rise to 65.69 mln tonnes
* Kansai offset 16 pct more emissions with U.N. CO2 credits
By Risa Maeda
TOKYO, July 24 (Reuters) - Kansai Electric Power Co.'s carbon dioxide emissions surged by 40 percent in the year ending March 2012 from a year earlier as utilities burnt more fossil fuels due to Japan's nuclear shutdown, the power company said on Tuesday.
In the 2011-2012 period, Kansai, Japan's most nuclear-reliant utility, emitted 65.69 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, up almost 40 percent from a year earlier, the firm said in a statement.
The crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant sparked by last March's devastating earthquake and tsunami shredded public faith in atomic power and prevented the restart of reactors shut for routine checks, resulting in a fall in the number of online reactors to zero by early May.
Before the Fukushima crisis, nuclear power had accounted for about 30 percent of Japan's electricity demand.
Utilities have had to burn more carbon-heavy fossil fuels to generate electricity to make up for a fall in the nuclear utilisation rate to 23.7 percent from 67.3 percent in 2010/11.
Last month, Japan's 10 utilities consumed a record volume of natural gas to generate power, industry data showed, while consumption of fuel oil and crude oil surged 132 percent to 469,000 barrels per day from a year ago.
As a result of emitting more CO2, Kansai offset 16 percent more of its emissions with U.N.-backed carbon permits, using 5.25 million tonnes of such credits.
Under the global emissions-cutting pact the Kyoto Protocol, Japan has pledged to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by an average 6 percent over 2008 to 2012 from 1990 levels.
There are fears that Japan will likely not meet its target under the pact as it increasingly looks to fossil-fuelled generation.
Japan's energy-related carbon dioxide emissions are projected to rise 3.5 percent in the current fiscal year, a think tank said this month - the third consecutive year of growth.
Countries can meet their Kyoto targets by burning less fossil fuels which emit harmful greenhouse gases, being more energy efficient, using cleaner sources of energy and by buying carbon credits under Kyoto's Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) to offset their emissions.
Even before last year's Fukushima nuclear crisis, Japanese power companies are major buyers of U.N. carbon credits under the CDM.
The 40 percent jump in Kansai's emissions resulted in an average adjusted CO2 intensity rate over the period 2008-2011 at 0.315 kg per kilowatt hour, falling short of its 0.282 kg goal, Kansai said.
Japan's 10 power companies usually say how their CO2 emissions are adjusted and how they near their CO2 goals when they announce earnings for the April-June period. The earnings announcements are due to start later this week.
Other Japanese utilities are expected to show similar jumps in CO2 emissions output and increased carbon credit use due to extended shutdowns of nuclear power plants over the past year.
(Editing by Nina Chestney)
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