【News】Kobe Power Station Unit 3 Begins Commercial Operation
On February 1, 2022, Kobe Power Station Unit 3 (650MW) began commercial operation.
Kobelco Power Kobe-2, a subsidiary of Kobe Steel (KOBELCO), has been making preparations for this project since it began in 2013, with trial operation of Unit 3 starting last year. Kobe Steel has made a contract with Kansai Electric Power to sell electricity generated at this plant for a period of 30 years, but Unit 3 alone will emit 3.46 million tons of CO2 per year. Does Kobe Steel seriously intend to keep this coal-fired power unit running and emitting carbon 30 years from now?
In order to achieve the 1.5°C target of the Paris Agreement, the key outcome from COP26, The Glasgow Climate Pact, agreed on a phasedown of coal-fired power plants that operate without any emission reduction measures. Despite this agreement, however, new coal-fired power plants are starting operation in Japan. While the remaining decade from now to 2030 is said to be critical for effective global climate change countermeasures, starting operation of a new coal-fired power unit only further shows to the world how serious Japan’s coal addiction is.
The Japanese government’s energy policy plays a major role in Kobe Steel’s decisions to start operation of Unit 3 and continue construction of Unit 4.
Japan’s energy policy:
- does not provide enough direction for Japan to achieve carbon neutrality in 2050.
- contains no concrete plan for a phase out of coal-fired power plants.
- promotes measures to co-fire ammonia/hydrogen with coal to extend the life of coal-fired power.
In announcing the beginning of commercial operation of Unit 3, Kobe Steel stated in its press release, “In accordance with the national energy policy, we will improve the efficiency of thermal power generation facilities and provide a stable supply of economically efficient electricity. Toward carbon neutrality in 2050, we will strive to further improve the efficiency of thermal power generation and reduce carbon emissions with the aim of realizing a world in which people, now and in the future, can fulfill their hopes and dreams while enjoying safe, secure, and prosperous lives.”
However, even if thermal power generation is made more efficient, it is still burning coal, and it is still a massive source of carbon emissions.
Both No Coal Kobe and Kiko Network have issued statements:
- [No Coal Kobe] Protesting the start of commercial operation of Kobe Steel’s new coal-fired power plant – Call to cease operation of Kobe Power Station Unit 3, which accelerates the climate crisis and air pollution (in Japanese)
- [Kiko Network] Kobe Power Station Unit 3 Starts Commercial Operation – Protesting the Operation of Coal-fired Power Plants Accelerating the Climate Crisis (in Japanese)
KOBELCO Power Kobe No. 2 Inc. begins commercial operation of No. 3 unit at Kobe Power Plant (Link)