Chubu Electric to invite bids to build new fossil power capacity

Chubu Electric Co. will invite bids by March 2015 to build new fossil fuel-powered generation capacity totaling 1 million kilowatts over 15 years from around 2022, President Akihisa Mizuno said Tuesday.

The capacity close to that of a nuclear reactor is expected to use inexpensive coal as fuel to save costs. Chubu Electric itself could become a bidder.

While the restart of its nuclear power plant remains uncertain, Chubu Electric now depends heavily on fossil fuel-powered plants, most of which are outdated.

"We need fossil power sources in consideration of long-term supply capacity and economy," Mizuno told a press conference.

Japanese utilities plan to expand fossil fuel-powered generation at a time when they operate nonnuclear power plants at full capacity due to the shutdown of nuclear plants throughout Japan following the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Kyushu Electric Power Co. plans to build a second unit at its Matsuura coal-powered plant in Nagasaki Prefecture to start operation around 2020, company sources said. Its capacity is planned at 1 million kw.

Kansai Electric Power Co. intends to build new fossil fuel-powered generation capacity totaling 1.5 million kw to begin operating possibly in the first half of the 2020s, industry sources said.

The new capacity is expected to use relatively inexpensive coal or liquefied natural gas as fuel to help cut fuel costs.

Tohoku Electric Power Co. is considering constructing a 600,000-kw third unit at its coal power plant in Noshiro, Akita Prefecture, earlier than currently scheduled in fiscal 2028 or later, company officials said.