(Reuters) - Japan’s Kansai Electric Power has canceled plans to switch a 1,200 megawatt oil-fired power station to coal as demand for electricity fell amid a push to cut the country’s emissions after it signed up to a global climate change accord.
Based in western Japan, Japan’s second-biggest utility had said in March 2015 it would convert its Ako power station, which has two 600 megawatt units, to coal from fuel oil and crude oil. Operations were scheduled to restart as early as 2020.
A spokesman told Reuters on Wednesday that converting the station to run on coal would have resulted in less efficient operations than building a new coal-fired plant. Japan has come under criticism for a big push into coal after the Fukushima nuclear disaster led to the shutdown of most of its reactors.
The spokesman said the utility decided converting Ako to coal would not help Japan reach emissions targets. The government has pushed to cut carbon dioxide emissions after the Paris 2015 accord on climate change.
Demand for Kansai Electric’s power supplies has fallen since government allowed new entrants to compete for business from households and other small users.
Energy efficiency measures have also contributed to a decline in usage, the company said in a statement announcing the Ako refurbishment cancellation late on Tuesday.
Reporting by Osamu Tsukimori; Writing by Aaron Sheldrick; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell