Tepco’s Coal Burning More Than Doubled on Idled Nuclear Reactors

Tokyo Electric Power Co., Japan’s biggest power utility, burned twice as much coal for power generation in 2013 than it did in 2012 as the company spent the entire year without using any nuclear capacity.

The Tokyo-based utility known as Tepco used 6.4 million metric tons of coal last year, compared with 3.1 million in 2012, according to Bloomberg News calculations based on data from the company’s website. LNG use rose 1.8 percent to 24 million tons.

The company’s coal and LNG use last year were the highest since at least 2004, the earliest complete calendar year of data provided on Tepco’s website.

The utility started two coal units with combined capacity of 1,600 megawatts in April and boosted consumption of coal, which is a cheaper source for electricity generation than fuel oil or crude. Japan has had no nuclear power since September as all of its 48 operable reactors have been shut pending safety reviews following the 2011 Fukushima disaster. The timing for restarting Tepco’s idled units has not been announced.

Tepco’s consumption of fuel oil and crude in 2013 fell 30 percent and 47 percent, respectively, according to Bloomberg calculations.

The following table shows Tepco’s consumption and purchases of fuel oil, crude, LNG and coal in 2012 and 2013. Fuel oil and crude volumes are in kiloliters, while LNG and coal are in tons.

                     2013                    2012
Fuel oil        5,184,000               7,394,000
Crude           1,830,000               3,467,000
LNG            24,092,000              23,658,000
Coal            6,413,000               3,079,000

Fuel oil        5,053,000               7,426,000
Crude           1,939,000               3,661,000
LNG            25,272,000              24,989,000
Coal            6,532,000               3,276,000
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