On January 30, Japan’s Shikoku Electric Power Co. released its consolidated accounts for the third quarter of FY2017 (April 2017 to March 2018).
Partly due to increased quantities of electric power sold to other power utilities thanks to the resumption of operations at its Ikata-3 Nuclear Power Plant (PWR, 890MWe), the company’s operating revenues were JPY534.2 billion (USD4.86 billion at USD1=JPY110), a 7.5 percent increase year-on-year.
Shikoku Electric Power’s sales for the full fiscal year are now expected to reach JPY720 billion (USD6.55 billion), JPY10 billion (USD90 million) more than was projected in April.
The Ikata-3 NPP was restarted in August 2016 after clearing an examination by the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) to confirm safety under the new regulatory standards. It has since been operated without disruption, generating 4.05TWh of electricity, a 36.8 percent increase year-on-year, until entering a periodic inspection last October. Although that inspection had been expected to be completed this month, the Hiroshima High Court issued a temporary injunction against operation of the unit in December.
According to the electricity supply and demand outlook for the current winter season, issued last October by the Agency for Natural Resources & Energy (ANRE) under the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), peak power demand during the period from December 2017 to February 2018 in the Shikoku area was thought to be 4,770MWe per month. The Shikoku area comprises the supply area of Shikoku Electric Power and various power producers & suppliers (PPSs).
At the same time, the minimum supply capacity was projected at 5,140MWe (in December). Accordingly, a capacity reserve margin of three percent—the level deemed necessary for stable power supply—was to be secured.
On January 24, however, Shikoku Electric Power announced that peak demand in the Shikoku area had been a record-setting 5,081MWe, and the highest level in six years. On the same day and the following day, an intense cold wave swept over the nation, with temperatures dipping below freezing in the four prefectural capitals on Shikoku Island.
On February 2, 2012, when peak power demand in the Shikoku area reached 5,048MWe, there was no nuclear plant in operation because Ikata-1 had entered a periodic inspection the previous month. Shikoku Electric responded at that time with various measures, including overload operations of thermal power plants.
At present, there are still serious risks to supply stemming from equipment problems brought on by rapidly increased demand as temperatures drop, and by dependence on aging thermal power facilities. For example, Shikoku Electric’s Anan-4 thermal plant (oil, 450MWe), in service now for forty-one years, has been shut down since January 29 due to an oil leakage.