Small Scale Power Plant in Sendai Switched from Coal to Biomass
June 1st, 2018
On 1st June, Sumitomo Corporation announced its proposed Sendai-Takamatsu combustion plant will switch its fuel from coal-biomass mix-fuel to biomass mono-fuel combustion. As a result, the remaining proposed domestic coal-fired plant becomes 35 (There have been 50 plans since 2012. Among them, 8 had already been started operations and 7 had been canceled/changed fuel).
This project was jointly planned by Shikoku Electric Power Company (YONDEN) and Sumitomo Corporation and began Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) procedures following the city ordinance. However, YONDEN announced its withdrawal from the project on 10th April and Sumitomo Corporation continued its consideration on feasibility of the project independently.
Sumitomo explained the reason for changing fuel was that they took into consideration of Mayor's opinion to the EIA document and a guideline of Sendai City to restrain a new coal-fired power plant in the City and found the feasibility to procure biomass fuel sustainably to burn woody biomass sorely.
In response to this project, local group Anti-Coal Sendai and Kiko Network have urged that this project should be canceled and sent strong messages to the companies, local governments and city council continuously. Citizens raised concerns about air pollution, adverse impacts to Gamou Tideland close to planned site, climate change and so on. Thus, we welcome the decision to stop coal fired power plant project made by Sumitomo Corporation. If it’s built, it would have been estimated that it could emit more than 600,000 tons-CO2 every year (equivalent to total emission from 120,000 households). This is a victory of citizens’ movement that wants the Paris Agreement to be realized. We also urge all other companies planning new coal projects to review and cancel it, following Sumitomo Corporation.
However, biomass single fuel combustion has also problems from the aspect of environment and sustainability. The supply source is yet unclear, which might lead serious damages for environment. In addition, the scale of the planned plant is larger compared to other biomass fired power plants. Furthermore, Sumitomo has not updated its data of CO2 emission yet. We request Sumitomo Corporation to disclose more information of the EIA to this renewed project and to communicate with citizens including environmental NGOs in a proactive manner.