【Report】 Greenpeace Japan “JERA and Japan seek costly and dirty alternative to RE: Lengthening the lifeline of coal power in Japan”


Greenpeace Japan has published a new briefing paper “JERA and Japan seek costly and dirty alternative to RE: Lengthening the lifeline of coal power in Japan”. According to Daniel Read, Climate & Energy Campaigner at Greenpeace Japan “The ammonia co-firing planned by the Japanese government and JERA will lead to an increase in the use of fossil fuels from a cost perspective, and will not contribute to the government’s goal of the carbon net zero by 2050. With the cost of solar and wind power plummeting across the world, these plans will lead to higher electricity expenses for consumers. The government and power companies should not be trying to extend the life of coal-fired power generation, but should be promoting renewable energy, which is more affordable and is proven to be a viable option in many parts of the world.”

Points from Executive Summary

  • Ammonia co-firing is in its infancy currently with 20% fuel mix (calorific value) only recently reached. Several issues regarding ammonia
    combustion exist, including its low flammability, high NOx emission, and low radiation intensity. 100% ammonia-firing is currently unproven on commercial scale.
  • This analysis suggests green ammonia will not be able to compete on cost with fossil based ammonia by 2050 without significant policy and
    regulatory changes. Fossil based ammonia with CCS/CCU, marketed as “blue”ammonia cannot be considered carbon neutral as EOR technology only furthers the use of fossil fuels and the life-cycle of carbon used via utilisation can not be adequately assessed.
  • We find that mid-level fuel costs will increase Jera’s thermal coal power plants fuel bill to $2,680 billion per year without CCS (brown ammonia) and $3,034 billion per year with CCS (blue ammonia). An absolute increase of $1,207 billion and $1,561 billion per year respectively.
  • We calculate that the introduction of ammonia into the fuel increases the LCOE to $98/MWh without CCS and $106/MWh with CCS, up from a Japan mid level average LCOE of $73 in USC coal power plants. This is in contrast to the latest solar auction producing a winning bid low under $100/MWh and set to decrease further and the government targeted offshore wind price of $62-74/MWh by 2030-2035.
  • Our analysis suggests that a likely average carbon tax on thermal coal of $99/tCO2 would be needed for brown ammonia co-firing and $122/tCO2 with blue ammonia to be cost competitive with a 100% coal fired power plant. Potentially condemning Jera’s coal fleet plans.
  •  In the context of Japan’s hydrogen aspirations, we view fossil based ammonia as another fig leaf or delaying tactic for the fossil fuel industry. It does nothing to establish a green hydrogen supply chain that is decarbonised from upstream production through to downstream applications.
  • Ammonia’s introduction into Japan’s energy sector though should be viewed as a bailout to thermal coal based corporations and turbine manufacturers. For cheap, decarbonised electricity in Japan and abroad the future is clear and proven; wind and solar.



JERA and Japan seek costly and dirty alternative to RE: Lengthening the lifeline of coal power in Japan (PDF)


Written/Published by:  Greenpeace Japan

Published: March 27, 2021