Asia Minute: Power questions linger after Japan’s latest earthquake
Crews in northern Japan are still cleaning up from a powerful earthquake that struck Wednesday night. At least four people were killed and more than 100 were injured, and for some the recovery is lingering.
The 7.4 earthquake struck in the middle of the night — in roughly the same area devastated by a quake and tsunami in 2011 — which sparked a nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant.
This quake immediately cut electricity to more than 2 million households — including hundreds of thousands in Tokyo — about 150 miles away.
By the next day, most of that power had been restored — but another kind of power issue is lingering.
Bloomberg reports more than 6 gigawatts of thermal power capacity was shut down after the quake.
Based on figures from the U.S. Department of Energy, that’s enough electricity to supply more than 4 million homes.
One result of the shutdown: wholesale power prices in Japan spiked to their highest point in a year.
Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry says gas and coal-fired electricity was halted at several facilities.
In the short term, other utilities are supplying power to Tohoku Electric, but the timeline for the resumption of the thermal power plants remains uncertain.
The Financial Times reports several factories also suspended operations after the quake — from auto plants to semiconductor makers.