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Can Japan rely on energy savings ?

April 11, 2012
Kansai Electric Power Co. vice president predicts tough power situation in summer



Kansai Electric Power Co. (KEPCO) Vice President Shigeki Iwane said on April 10 that this summer's electricity supplies will only just be enough even with the reactivation of two nuclear reactors.

"There is no doubt it will be tougher than last year. Looking at current supply and demand, there will be almost no cases where we do not call for savings on electricity. Even if two reactors are reactivated, it will be tough," said Iwane, indicating that even if the No. 3 and 4 reactors of the Oi nuclear power plant were restarted, the power company will call for cuts in power usage this summer.

The comments were made to reporters after Iwane attended an energy strategy meeting held by Osaka prefecture and the city. It was the first time that a KEPCO executive mentioned the possibility of calling for cuts in energy use this summer.

Regarding energy supply and demand this summer, the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy and KEPCO have shown calculations predicting the possibility of a 7.6 percent shortage if there is a similar amount of energy demand to last year's summer, and a 19.6 percent shortage if there is a hot summer like in 2010. In a case like last year, if the two reactors at the Oi plant, with a generating capacity of 2.36 million kilowatts, were restarted, a 0.9 percent surplus of energy is predicted. However, last year's demand came after a call for a 15 percent cut in energy use, and KEPCO is therefore thought to have come to the conclusion that this year will need a similar call for cuts in power use.

The calculations predict that electricity shortages would occur from late June through September. Last year's calls for cuts in energy use were in effect from July, and Iwane said, "I think there is a need to talk about saving power from an early point."


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