TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan’s environment minister will submit to the country’s industrial ministry an objection over plans for a 1.07 gigawatt (GW) coal-fired plant to be built by Chubu Electric Power Co, NHK public TV said on Friday.
Environment Minister Yoshio Mochizuki has been pushing back on the growing use of coal to generate power after the Fukushima nuclear disaster led to the shutdown of the nation’s reactors, as concerns mount over greenhouse gas emissions.
In June, he objected to plans for a 1.2 GW coal-fired plant to be built by Electric Power Development and Osaka Gas.
An official at the environment ministry on Friday confirmed that Mochizuki planned to submit an opinion to the industrial ministry later in the day on Chubu’s plant, to be built in Taketoyo in central Japan, but declined to comment on its content.
Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry has been promoting the use of coal to cut costs relative to imports of expensive liquefied natural gas (LNG) after the Fukushima disaster.
Under Japan’s environmental impact assessment law, government approval for a power plant project is based on an examination of its effects on the surrounding environment.
The industry ministry handles the process and is authorized to give an approval, although the environment ministry can submit opinions during the assessment that could influence the final decision.
NHK also said Mochizuki would at a news conference later in the day say that a voluntary plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions that was mapped out by the country’s power industry in July would not be effective enough and should be reconsidered.
Japan’s Federation of Electric Power Companies, whose members include the 10 main power monopolies, and 25 other firms said last month they had voluntarily set a goal to curb CO2 emissions per 1 kilowatt of power by 35 percent from 2013 levels to around 0.37 kg in 2030.
Japan has faced increasing criticism by environmental groups and from other countries as it burns record amounts of coal and plans a wave of new power stations using the fuel as it struggles to revive its nuclear industry.
Reporting by Yuka Obayashi; Editing by Joseph Radford