Eastern Japan earthquake/Power Supply Power Shortfall in the Summer Looks Inevitable

Can peak demand be met? — We are being asked a lot whether it will be possible to supply enough electric power if surplus capacity is operated at full tilt. Electric power supply/demand is complicated by the issue of sourcing from other firms as well as from the power company’s own facilities. Below we summarize the situation but we conclude that it will not be easy to get hold of enough power (Figure 1). Over the long term, the capacity loss could be made up through measures such as the construction of new LNG power stations but we would expect this to take three years or more. Ways of quickly sourcing enough power include the early restart of nuclear plants currently undergoing routine maintenance and manufacturing industry building

Any fix from other regions, nuclear? — With TEPCO and Tohoku Electric, who have traditionally worked in tandem, both suffering, supply from western Japan is the only geographical fix, but only 1mn kW is available, due to the east/west difference in utility frequencies, and we have already counted this in TEPCO’s supply capacity. As for idled nuclear capacity, TEPCO has 3.3mn kW at Kashiwazaki-Kariwa, while Tohoku Electric has 1.1mn kW at Higashidori, which we believe was not affected by the tsunami, and 2.2mn kW at Onagawa, but restarting these is unlikely to be politically possible before summer.

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