Japan's Tokyo Electric Power Company is eyeing the commercial startup of 1.6 GW of coal-fired power generation capacity around mid-December, a company official said Thursday.
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Tepco expects to start up the 1-GW No. 2 coal-fired unit at the Hitachinaka power plant in eastern Japan mid-December. It began commercial operation of the 600-MW No. 6 coal-fired unit at the Hirono thermal power plant on Tuesday, the official said.
The utility's oil demand for power generation fell this year following successful test runs in April at the two coal-fired plants at Hitachinaka and Hirono.
Another 1 GW of output was added following the complete restart of Tohoku Electric's earthquake-hit 2 GW Haramachi coal-fired power plant in the northeast, where Tepco has rights to half of the total production in fiscal 2013-2014 (April-March).
In December, Tepco plans to buy around 600,000 kiloliters (122,000 b/d) of crude and fuel oil, up 33% from 450,000 kl in November, a source close to the matter said Tuesday. In December 2012, Tepco bought 1.02 million kl of crude and fuel oil, according to company data.
Tepco in November used 350,000 kl (73,000 b/d) of crude and fuel oil, down 13% from 400,000 kl planned earlier for the month, the source said.
Tepco's crude and fuel oil consumption in November compares with 689,000 kl used a year earlier, the data showed.
Japan's peak season of winter demand for power typically spans December-March, when lower temperatures have a direct impact on the consumption of crude oil, fuel oil, LPG and LNG for thermal power generation. Japan currently does not have any nuclear reactors in operation.
Tepco has had to increase power generation using fossil fuels following the 2011 earthquake that caused an automatic shutdown of its Fukushima-1 (Daiichi) and Fukushima-2 (Daini) nuclear power plants, which had a combined capacity of 9 GW.
Tepco lost the last of its nuclear output on March 26, 2012, when it shut the 1.356 GW No. 6 nuclear reactor at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant for scheduled maintenance. It remains unclear when Tepco will be allowed to restart any of its nuclear reactors.