Contributed By Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu
In general, the Electricity Business Act requires a person who intends to generate electricity for sale (unless its quantity falls below 10 MW) to notify METI of being an operator of Electricity Generation Business. The Act also requires the operator to be a member of OCCTO.
The operator is also required to proceed with an environmental impact assessment in accordance with the Environmental Impact Assessment Act (Act No 81 of 1997, as amended) (as modified by the Electricity Business Act) when it intends to construct a generation facility of a certain prescribed capacity. There are some local governments that establish their own environmental impact assessment process for the construction of a generation facility of a smaller capacity.
In general, the operator is required to file a construction plan of a generation facility with METI no less than 30 days prior to its commencement if it has a certain prescribed capacity.
With respect to the construction of a thermal power plant with a fossil energy source, the Act on Rationalising Energy Use requires the operator to endeavour to ensure that such thermal power plant satisfies a standard of power generation efficiency as set out in the Act and its related regulations.
With respect to a nuclear power plant, under the Act on the Regulation of Nuclear Source Material, Nuclear Fuel Material and Reactors, the permission of NRA is required for the installation of a nuclear reactor and the approval of NRA is required for its construction plan, and the operator has to obtain approval from METI on a construction plan in accordance with the Electricity Business Act.