Milder weather may cap Japan's thermal power demand

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Temperatures in Japan are forecast to be higher than usual during February-April, potentially limiting heating demand for coal, gas and oil-fired power generation.

There is a 40pc probability that temperatures across large parts of Japan, except for the Okinawa area, will be higher than the 30-year average during the three-month period, according to the latest forecast by the country's meteorological agency. There is also a 40pc probability that temperatures will be in line with the average during the period, after a cold spell earlier in January caused unusual rises in power demand.

The average temperature in Tokyo is 5.7°C in February, 8.7°C in March and 13.9°C in April.

But limited nuclear power availability could lift thermal power consumption during February-April. The average operating capacity at nuclear power plants is expected to be 4,730MW in February and 5,962MW in March, down by 35.3pc and 13.7pc respectively from the same periods last year. But the operational capacity in April is expected to rise by 4.9pc from a year earlier to average 6,799MW.

The agency previously forecast a 40pc probability that February temperatures would be in line with the average, with a 30pc probability they would be higher than usual, despite a La Niña event inducing cold weather during December-February.

Japan imported 74.3mn t of LNG in 2020, lower by 3.9pc from 2019, preliminary data from the finance ministry shows. Japan purchased 96mn t of thermal coal during January-November 2020, down by 4.4pc compared with the same period a year earlier.

By Nanami Oki

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