Added to that, offshore wind and large-scale solar PV could be cheaper than the long-run marginal cost of existing coal plants by 2025 and 2027 for onshore wind, the report said.To meet a globally agreed goal of limiting temperature rise to below 2 degrees Celsius this century, planned and operational coal capacity would need to be shut down and Japanese consumers could face $71 billion in higher power prices as the cost of stranded coal assets is passed on.
Of this amount, $29 billion could be avoided if the Japanese government reconsidered the development of planned and under construction capacity straight away, according to the report.
Biomass is currently the largest U.S. renewable energy source with more than 200 existing plants providing electricity for 1.5 million American homes.
Coal-fired power generation is a major contributor to carbon dioxide and other pollutants that contribute to global warming, which is causing heat waves, rising sea levels, droughts and other extreme weather events.The Japanese government has said renewables should be the main source of power and the country should aim to be carbon-neutral as soon as possible after 2050, to meet the Paris global climate agreement. However, the Fukushima nuclear plant disaster in 2011 and shutdown of Japan’s reactors increased its fossil fuel import dependence to nearly 95 percent in 2016, from 80 percent in 2010, and resulted in carbon emissions from power generation rising by a quarter, according to the International Energy Agency.
According to a Reuters survey, Japan plans to build nearly 12.6 gigawatts (GW) of new coal capacity in the next decade.
Japan’s coal generation capacity totalled around 43 GW at the end of March and is expected to reach 52 GW in 2023, according the country’s grid monitor.Globally, previous research by Carbon Tracker has calculated that 42 percent of coal plants in operation were likely unprofitable last year and at least 72 percent could be unprofitable by 2040.