The government withheld an estimate that there would be no electricity shortages in the upcoming summer in an apparent bid to underscore the need to restart nuclear power plants, it has been learned. Instead of releasing the realistic estimate, the government announced that the supply of electricity in Japan “will be about 10 percent short across the country”.
Furthermore, the released government estimate greatly downplayed the supply of renewable energy, disregarding the country’s actual energy status.
It was found that electric power companies were capable of procuring 7.59 million kilowatts through renewable energy under the current law — equal to the output of about seven nuclear reactors. However, the released government estimate stated that utilities were unable to provide renewable energy supplies.
In addition, the released estimate apparently deliberately presumed that some of the thermal power plants would be suspended in August — a peak-demand period — for regular inspections and also anticipated that there would be no cut in power use at the time of a power crunch through the supply-demand adjustment arrangement with major electricity contractors. The estimate also played down the supply capacity of pumped-storage hydroelectricity, which utilizes night-time surplus power during the daytime.
“The released government estimate stresses the need to resume operations of nuclear power plants by underestimating the actual supply capacity,” a concerned source has told the Mainichi.
The recalculation found that the country would have a surplus power supply of up to 6 percent even without a government order for power restrictions if renewable energy supply and other elements were factored in. The recalculated data was compiled in August last year and was reported to Prime Minister Kan, but it was never released to the public.