Pinched between a moribund nuclear sector and an overpriced oil sector, Japan’s power companies are plowing an estimated $7 billion into coal and gas. Reuters reports that Japan’s energy companies will have 12 new gas plants and two coal plants online by next year, adding a combined 6.8 gigawatts of capacity to the energy-starved nation.
The Fukushima meltdown in 2011 prompted a nation-wide shutdown of nuclear reactors, forcing Japan to make a sudden switch to costly oil imports. Analysts predict a shift to coal and gas will alleviate industries suffering from soaring energy bills, which have dented their international sales. Japan’s trade deficit hit a record high of 4.8 trillion yen in the first half of 2013.