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METI requests inter-regional power grid capacity be bolstered

  • July 14, 2022
  • , Yomiuri , p. 9
  • JMH Translation

On July 13, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) asked the Organization for Cross-Regional Coordination of Transmission Operators (OCCTO) to draft three plans to increase the transmission capacity of power grids. The move is aimed at promoting the effective use of surplus renewable energy and preventing power crunches.


One project involves the construction of an undersea power grid in the Sea of Japan that would transmit electricity generated in Hokkaido to the greater Tokyo area. The power grid would have a transmission capacity of 2 million kilowatts, which is equivalent to the electricity generated by two nuclear reactors. The undersea power grid is envisaged to be capable of transmitting up to 8 million kilowatts if the amount of electricity generated from renewable sources were to increase in Hokkaido. The project is expected to take more than 10 years to complete and require an investment estimated to be as much as 2.2 trillion yen. A subproposal to transmit electricity generated at an offshore wind power plant to be built off the coast of Akita Prefecture will be also considered.


METI also requested OCCTO to draft two projects involving western Japan. One of the projects is to increase the transmission capacity of power grids between Kyushu Electric Power Co. and Chugoku Electric Power Co. The project is aimed at increasing the amount of electricity transmitted to the Honshu mainland as well as ensuring a stable electricity supply in western Japan.


The third project is to strengthen power grid networks between Kansai Electric Power Co., Chubu Electric Power Co., and Hokuriku Electric Power Co. In the event that the power grid between any two of the three utilities cannot be used due to natural disaster, electricity would be supplied via the power grid of the third power company.


OCCTO is expected to draft project details, including cost-sharing and topographical surveys of the seabed. The final decision on the projects will be made within two years. (Abridged)

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