JERA is pushing for LNG In response to Japan’s energy crisis, due to slow restart of its nuclear power plants

JERA's LNG power plant at Anegasaki
February 2023

First LNG-Fired CCGT Unit Begins Operation at JERA’s Giant Modernized Gas Plant in Japan

JERA, a Japanese power generator, has started operating the first of three new combined cycle gas turbine units at the Anegasaki Thermal Power Station. The units, which are fueled by liquified natural gas (LNG), will replace the outdated gas steam units from the 1960s and 1970s. The modernized 650-MW Units 1, 2, and 3 will improve thermal efficiency, reduce the environmental load, and contribute to a stable electricity supply.

The company noted that the three Mitsubishi Power 650-MW M701JAC gas turbines used for the Anegasaki Units 1 to 3 project are equipped with 1,650C class forced air-cooled combustor systems. “Air emitted from the combustor casing is cooled in an external cooler, and the pressure boosted in a forced air-cooled compressor, after which the air is used to cool the combustor, and returned to the casing,” Mitsubishi Power explained.

“This process optimizes the cooling structure. The system also utilizes advanced turbine blade cooling technologies such as an extra thick film thermal insulation coating, and high-pressure compressors. This allows for shorter start-up times compared to steam cooling methods, and improves operational efficiency,” it said.

JERA, a joint venture between Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. and Chubu Electric Power Co, is also converting and modernizing other fossil fuel-based thermal power plants as part of a 6.7-GW replacement project that will run through 2024.

JERA recently completed the conversion of the 1 GW Taketoyo Thermal Power Station Unit 5 to ultra-supercritical technology, which now allows for co-firing of coal and woody biomass. In June 2023, the company will open the upgraded 650 MW Yokosuka Unit 1, an ultra-supercritical coal facility. Another twin unit, the Yokosuka Unit 2, is planned to be completed in February 2024.

In response to Japan’s energy crisis, JERA is also planning to replace three units at the Goi Thermal Power Station with LNG-fired gas turbines, with a combined capacity of 2,340 MW, between August 2024 and March 2025. Due to the slow restart of its nuclear power plants after the Fukushima disaster in 2011 and the retirement of older thermal plants, Japan is facing a security of power supplies crisis, with only 10 out of 33 reactors currently in operation and 17 cleared by the regulator.

Japanese nuclear plant
Takahama nuclear power plant

JERA, which is responsible for handling a large portion of the world’s LNG transactions (approximately 40 million tons of LNG annually), has recently taken measures to secure stable LNG supplies amid a rise in fuel costs and increased competition for LNG in the Asia region. The company has signed a term sheet to purchase 800,000 tons of LNG annually from 2025 to 2035 from Oman Liquified Natural Gas.

[Full article at Power Magazine by Sonal Patel]


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