TEPCO plans 10-MW solar plant to cut CO2 emissions

TOKYO, Jan 27 (Reuters) - Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) 9501.T said on Tuesday that it plans to build a 10-megawatt solar power plant in central Japan, as Asia's biggest utility works to meet targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

TEPCO’s emissions have jumped since it had to indefinitely shut down Japan’s biggest nuclear plant after a July 2007 earthquake, as it has been forced to increase output from oil-fired and other thermal power plants.

TEPCO has agreed with the government of Yamanashi prefecture, west of Tokyo, to construct the plant with the aim of beginning partial operations in the year starting in April 2011. They aim to generate about 12 million kilowatt-hours of electricity a year, helping to reduce CO2 emissions by about 5,100 tonnes annually, TEPCO said in a statement.

TEPCO did not reveal the projected costs for building the plant.

Yamanashi prefecture will provide the land for the facility.

The move marks TEPCO’s second multi-megawatt solar project, as Japanese utilities aim to cut CO2 emissions per kilowatt-hour by 20 percent over the five business years that started in April 2008, compared with 1990 levels.

TEPCO announced in October that it and Kawasaki city, near Tokyo, would work to build two solar plants with combined capacity of about 20 megawatts. [ID:nT160766]

Japan is the world’s second-largest solar power generation market behind Germany.

Japan’s top 10 utilities plan to build enough solar power facilities to have the capacity to produce 140-megawatts of electricity by March 2021, an industry body has estimated. (Reporting by Osamu Tsukimori; Editing by Chris Gallagher)