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Okinawa Power stunned by Prime Minister's CO2 plan

Date Posted: 2009-09-24

Japan’s Prime Minister wasted no time in announcing plans this week to reduce greenhouse gases by 25% by 2020, a move that has shocked Okinawa Power Co., which uses oil and coal to generate electricity.

Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, who assumed the post only a week ago, announced the plans for curbing greenhouse gases Tuesday, sending Okinawa Power Company officials scurrying for potential solutions to dealing with the new rules. Okinawa’s electricity rates are already the highest in Japan, and the penalties for generating CO2 and discharging it into the atmosphere will raise the rates even higher.

Much of the nation uses nuclear power plants to generate electricity, but Okinawa relies on oil and coal-powered generating plants. The CO2 discharge is much higher with fossil fuels. Okinawa Power says the government’s plan will force the company to reduce its CO2 discharge, a move that will increase electricity bills.

They say a switch to nuclear power isn’t really feasible for Okinawa because of the comparatively small amount of electricity the island requires. Okinawa uses only 200,000 ~ 300,000kw. An atomic-powered plant generates 1,000,000kw, far in excess of Okinawa needs. The costs of constructing a nuclear plant would be very high, and would equally trigger increased electrical bills.

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