Millennium Is the Answer to Japan’s Call for U.S. Coal

The Seattle Times recently published an opinion editorial by Dr. Shozo Kaneko, a fellow of the Japan Society of Mechanical Engineers and recently retired faculty member of the University of Tokyo, detailing the economic and security needs the Millennium Bulk Terminals-Longview project could provide for long standing U.S. trading partners like Japan.

The fact that this project wouldn’t just create economic benefits for southwest Washington but also would provide benefits for allies like Japan is often overlooked in the debate over the project.

Dr. Kaneko correctly notes, “the Millennium project brings substantial benefits to Longview and the state of Washington—and it also offers Japan a sound solution to its pressing energy security challenges.”

Japan, like many countries, needs coal to keep its country and economy running. In fact, earlier this year, the Japanese government announced it was moving ahead with its plans to build up to 45 new coal fired power stations. As a nation that imports 96% of its natural energy resources, it’s clear the Millennium Bulk Terminals-Longview project is in perfect position to meet Japan’s immense need.

But there is also an environmental case to be made for using U.S. coal shipped through the Millennium Bulk Terminals project.  Japan has strict environmental requirements when it comes to coal emissions, which is exactly why it looks to the U.S. and our high-quality, low sulfur, Powder River Basin coal versus alternatives that would come from other sources to meet their energy needs.

Dr. Kaneko states, “Japan is a global leader in aggressively pursuing high efficiency/low-to-zero emission technologies for generating electricity from coal… We also want to import the highest quality coal possible to optimize our substantial investments in coal technology infrastructure.” As a world leader in low-emission and high-efficiency coal plants, Japan views Millennium Bulk Terminals and the state of Washington as ideal trade partners to ensure the transport of a commodity that has been a part of the nation’s energy portfolio for years.

Powder River Basin coal not only serves as a low-emissions resource for Japan; it also provides much-needed national security. As the Asian-Pacific region becomes increasingly unstable, Japan’s ability to rely on coal from a stable trading partner like the U.S. becomes even more vital.

The proposed Millennium Bulk Terminals project will help meet both the present and future demand. Dr. Kaneko points out that “the 2016 International Energy Outlook concludes that coal will remain the second-largest energy source worldwide until 2030.” On top of that, world coal consumption is expected to increase by over 20 percent by 2040. It is clear, coal will continue to provide energy security for nation’s around the globe. The Millennium Bulk Terminals project is an investment into this reality that will unlock jobs and growth across oceans.

Countries and companies are waiting for opportunities like the Millennium Bulk Terminals facility to open. The high-quality coal that would move through Longview is in high-demand given its efficiency and quality. Dr. Shozo Kaneko’s testimony to the impact the terminal would have for all parties involved further underscores the need for this project.