Japan's stressed power grid faces new test with Arctic blast on way

The magnitude 7.3-earthquake injured more than 150 people, causing damage throughout the northern region, including Fukushima, where the meltdowns after a massive quake and tsunami 10 years ago left Japan without its fleet of reactors that supplied about a third of the country's electricity. Nine reactors have been licensed to restart but only four are presently in operation, leaving Japan ever-reliant on imported fossil fuels or solar power generation that this winter has been snowed out.

Reuters | Updated: 17-02-2021 08:26 IST | Created: 17-02-2021 08:26 IST
Japan's stressed power grid faces new test with Arctic blast on way

Japan's overstretched electricity grid is likely to receive another Arctic blast in the coming days, which is already pushing up wholesale prices and may stress generators as they struggle to keep units running after a powerful quake. While the world's third-biggest economy is unlikely to see millions plunged into blackouts as in the United States currently, the country narrowly avoided power cuts only last month in another wintry spell.

Utilities and independent power providers got another jolt at the weekend when a 7.3-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Fukushima, northern Japan, and sent plants into automatic shutdown, briefly knocking out power for nearly 1 million people. Power companies restarted some units on Tuesday after checks for quake damage. Wholesale electricity prices for peak-hour delivery on Thursday reached a three-week high of 38.80 yen (37 cents) per kilowatt hour, up more than 40% from Wednesday.

"Japan's weather is getting colder, with the forecast pushing demand up quite considerably into Thursday," said James Whistler, global head of energy derivatives at SSY Futures. "Thursday's load forecast is up 20% on Monday, or about 10 gigawatts, which gives you a sense of the size of the Japanese power market," he said.

JERA Co., Japan's biggest power generation company, told Reuters on Tuesday it had brought online another of the units at its Hirono coal power station that were shut down in the earthquake. Japan Petroleum Exploration Co said it had resumed partial operations on Tuesday of its liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal but the nearby gas powered generation unit was still shut down.

Other units remained down and were undergoing checks. The magnitude 7.3-earthquake injured more than 150 people, causing damage throughout the northern region, including Fukushima, where the meltdowns after a massive quake and tsunami 10 years ago left Japan without its fleet of reactors that supplied about a third of the country's electricity.

Nine reactors have been licensed to restart but only four are presently in operation, leaving Japan ever-reliant on imported fossil fuels or solar power generation that this winter has been snowed out. The country's power generators were caught on the hop trying to get cargoes of LNG on demand last month. Operations of some U.S. LNG export terminals have been suspended as freezing weather in Texas sent power prices spiralling more than 100 times higher.

The Japan Meteorological Agency issued warnings of snow storms, blizzards and high waves over a wide swathe of northern eastern and western Japan. Blizzard conditions are expected to be the worst in "several years" and people should stay in shelter, the weather agency said. ($1 = 105.9200 yen)

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)


TRENDING

OPINION / BLOG / INTERVIEW

Viral variants and vaccine nationalism pose two-pronged threat to Covid victory

... ...

Tracking Fintech during COVID-19: Harnessing power of technology

Its abundantly clear now that as fintech cements its place in the financial sector, accelerated further by the COVID-19 pandemic, it could open the sector to new possibilities by harnessing the power of technology to deliver financial ...

Tectonic turns: How technology shaped healthcare over the decades

Tracing an episodic evolution, with technology at the interface of human and his health....

World Water Day sees crises of inequality in countries both rich and poor

... ...

Videos

Latest News

FACTBOX-Latest on the worldwide spread of the coronavirus

India and Thailand reported record daily coronavirus cases on Thursday, as a new wave of infections, combined with a shortage of hospital beds and vaccines, threatens to slow Asias recovery from the pandemic. DEATHS AND INFECTIONS Eikon use...

Chicago releases graphic video of police shooting 13-year-old boy

Chicago officials on Thursday released to the public a graphic body-camera video showing a policeman shooting and killing a 13-year-old boy while he appeared to be raising his hands in an alley more than two weeks ago. The nine-minute video...

Soccer-Arteta has Arsenal peaking in time to chase European success

Arsenals dominant win over Slavia Prague in their Europa League quarter-final second leg on Thursday suggests coach Mikel Arteta has his team peaking just in time to fight for their last chance of a major trophy this season and a way into E...

Brazil's hospitals running out of sedatives as COVID-19 rages

Brazils hospitals were running out of drugs needed to sedate COVID-19 patients on Thursday, with the government urgently seeking to import supplies amid reports of the seriously ill being tied down and intubated without effective sedatives....

Give Feedback