Saturday, March 12, 2011

#Japan #Earthquake: TEPCO Plans Rolling Blackout to Conserve Electricity

and different frequencies are partly to blame...

Main points from Nikkei Shinbun (original in Japanese, link, emphasis added; 3/12/2011):

TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Co.) announced the rolling blackout [intentionally engineered power outage] to start on Monday March 14, following the shutdown Fukushima I and II Nuclear Power Plants. Electricity supply from other power companies are limited.

Both businesses and households, including the households in metropolitan Tokyo, will be subject to the rolling blackout, which is the first since 1951 when TEPCO was created.

TEPCO's Vice President Fujimoto said in the press conference that for March 14, "The demand is expected to be 41 million kilowatt against the supply of 31 million kilowatt, resulting in 10 million kilowatt shortage". Fujimoto said he expects the rolling blackout to last at least a week.

TEPCO limited the power supply in 2007, when their nuclear power plant in Kashiwazaki with 7 reactors was shut down. However, the measure only applied to big corporate users, and it was only for 150,000 to 200,000 Kilowatts.

Part of the reason why TEPCO cannot count on electricity supply from other power companies is that TEPCO uses 50 Hertz as their line frequency, whereas the power companies unaffected by the earthquake (=southwestern half of Japan) uses 60 Hertz. The capacity of the frequency converter is not enough. The other electric companies that uses 50 Hertz are Tohoku Electric Power whose facilities have been badly damaged, and Hokkaido Electric Power which is too far away.

The Kashiwazaki Nuclear Power Plant [which by the way has the same type of reactors as Fukushima] took 22 months to come back online, and it had a far less severe damage than the Fukushima plants.

Fukushima I and II Nuclear Power Plants generate 9.1 million kilowatt, or over 20% of total electricity generated for TEPCO.

Take a look at this chart that was in the original article. (Y-axis is trillion kilowatt hour.) From the top of the bar chart, the components are: Nuclear, hydro, coal, LNG (liquefied natural gas), alternative energy, and petroleum. Note the high ratio of nuclear power. According to the article, the Japanese power companies were planning to raise the ratio from the current 34% to 70% by the year 2030.

After this quake and the on-going emergency at the Fukushima I, II Nuclear Power Plants, this national plan (both government and industry) of achieving a "low-carbon emission" society through more nuclear power generation may be in serious trouble.

Japan has bought into "global warming" completely, without a shred of doubt as far as I've seen. In its quest for low-carbon, clean and green energy, nuclear power generation has been given an extra help from the government, despite the persistent, strong opposition from the residents who would be affected by the nuclear plants built in their backyards.


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