The Yokosuka thermal power station is being replaced with a 1.3GW coal-fired power plant.
The Yokosuka thermal power plant is located near the port of Kurihama, Kanagawa, Japan. Image courtesy of Parag.naik.
The Yokosuka coal-fired power plant will be owned and operated by JERA. Image courtesy of Ketsudan.

A 1.3GW coal-fired power plant is under construction at the former Yokosuka thermal power station site near the port of Kurihama, in the Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan.

Yokosuka is one of the 22 new coal-fired power plants planned to be built in Japan by 2025 and it is the only coal-fired facility being constructed in Japan’s Greater Tokyo area.

The Yokosuka coal-fired power plant is being developed by Japan’s Energy for New Era (JERA), a 50:50 joint venture between Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) and Chubu Electric.

Construction on the 1.3GW Yokosuka coal-fired facility was started in August 2019, while the two new units are scheduled to come online by 2023 and 2024, respectively.

Location and site details

The two-unit coal-fired power plant is being developed on the former Yokosuka thermal power plant site that has a 60-year long history of serving Japan’s electricity needs.

The Yokosuka thermal power plant is located on a 202acre-site near the Yokosuka city in the Kanagawa Prefecture, in Japan’s Tokyo Bay area.

Yokosuka coal-fired power plant details

The Yokosuka coal-based power plant will be equipped with two ultra-supercritical (USC) coal-fired units of 650MW capacity each.

The USC units are designed to operate at greater efficiency by utilising a lesser amount of coal and emitting lesser quantities CO2 and SO2 compared to conventional coal-fired units.

JERA proposed to replace the pre-existing Yokosuka thermal power facility with two modern and efficient coal-fired generating units in September 2016.

It established the special-purpose company JERA Power Yokosuka to build and operate the new coal-based power plant at the Yokosuka site in March 2017.

The final environmental impact assessment (EIS) for the 1.3GW Yokosuka coal-fired power project was approved by the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI), Government of Japan, in November 2018.

Controversy over the Yokosuka coal power project

In 2019, the Yokosuka coal-fired power project witnessed protests and opposition from local environmental groups against the CO2 emissions and air pollutants from the new generating units.

A group of residents of Yokosuka also sued the central government against the approval of an allegedly simplified environmental impact assessment report for the project by launching an administrative lawsuit in the Tokyo District Court in May 2019.

Yokosuka thermal power station history

Named after the nearby city, the Yokosuka thermal power station was developed with eight generating units for a total installed capacity of 2.2GW. It was owned and operated by TEPCO Fuel & Power, a subsidiary of TEPCO.

The facility comprised six 350MW steam turbine units running on heavy and crude oil, and two gas turbine units of 30MW and 144MW capacities that operated on light oil and city gas.

The six 350MW oil-fired units were commissioned between 1964 and 1970, while the 30MW gas turbine unit was brought online as an emergency generating facility in July 1971 and the 144MW gas turbine unit was commissioned in September 2007.

All of the operating units at the Yokosuka thermal power station were decommissioned between 2004 and 2010.

However, in the wake of the March 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and the Fukushima Daichi nuclear disaster, two 350MW oil-fired units, as well as two gas turbine units of the Yokosuka thermal power plant, were restarted and operated as an emergency power generating facility until 2014.

All units of the Yokosuka thermal power station were fully decommissioned by March 2017.