nuclear-news

The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Tsunami affected areas can redevelop with renewable energy

The goal of the Kesen project is to generate at least 50 percent of the region’s electricity through solar and other renewable-energy sources

Rice paddies that were inundated with seawater in March 2011 can yield more profit if they’re covered with solar panels than if they’re rehabilitated as agricultural land.

Tsunami Cities Fight Nuclear Elites To Create Green Jobs By Stuart Biggs – Jul 10, 2012  Bloomberg  Rikuzentakata, like many cities on Japan ’s rugged northeast Pacific coast, was in decline even before last year’s tsunami killed 1,700 of its 24,000 inhabitants and destroyed most of its downtown buildings.

With two-thirds of the remaining residents homeless, Mayor Futoshi Toba questioned whether the city could recover, Bloomberg Markets magazine reports in its August issue. Damage to infrastructure and the economy, he said, would force people to move away to find jobs. Sixteen months later, the city is trying to rebuild in a way that Toba says would reinvent the region and provide a model to overcome obstacles that have hobbled the Japanese economy for more than 20 years: the fastest-aging population in the developed world, loss of manufacturing competitiveness toChina  and South Korea  and reliance on imported fossil fuels.

Rikuzentakata is part of a government program to create one of the country’s first so-called ecocities.

They would be smaller and more self-sufficient and would lower costs through technology and create new jobs in renewable energy to replace those lost to the decline of agriculture and fisheries…….

Ecocities can lead the way, says Hideaki Miyata, an engineering professor at the University of Tokyo  who’s advising local officials on the project.

“We can provide a solution for Japan’s super-aging society,” he says. “Younger people were already leaving these cities, but what we’re planning to do here will provide new jobs and factories.”…..  After the tsunami, which reached as high as the fourth story on the city’s seafront hospital, Rikuzentakata joined forces with neighboring Ofunato and Sumita in the Kesen district.

They applied for aid under the national government’s FutureCity program, which has an annual budget of about 1 billion yen ($12.5 million) to create blueprints for urban development that promotes environmental protection and clean- energy use.

Clean Energy

The goal of the Kesen project is to generate at least 50 percent of the region’s electricity through solar and other renewable-energy sources, reducing Kesen’s near-total dependence on Tohoku Electric Power Co. (9506), Japan’s fifth-largest utility, and lowering electricity costs for the area’s 67,000 residents.

Planners say they hope to attract clean-energy companies, including makers of lithium ion batteries used to store power before it is fed to the grid.

They also envision using electric buses to ferry residents around town and rebuilding schools to double as community centers and evacuation shelters, thereby streamlining public infrastructure.

Making the Kesen project a reality hinges on how much of the central government’s 19 trillion yen in reconstruction spending goes to the three cities, as well as alternative-energy subsidies, says another project adviser, Kimikazu Uemura, chief executive officer of Index Consulting Inc., a project management firm…….

In rejecting nuclear, DeWit says, the Japanese are rejecting the web of cozy ties at the very top of society, forming what’s commonly called “the nuclear village” — the politicians, utilities, bureaucrats and academics that promoted Japan’s reliance on atomic energy in the first place.

Energy shortages risk making things worse. Nuclear power has been the linchpin of the resource-poor country’s economic planning since the 1960s……….

 

Rural Decline

Smart cities can help reverse rural decline, DeWit says. There’s an economic rationale for converting land to renewable- energy use.

Rice paddies that were inundated with seawater in March 2011 can yield more profit if they’re covered with solar panels than if they’re rehabilitated as agricultural land.

“When you’re sitting on land, or an old factory, rather than clear it up, you can cover it with solar panels,” says Penn Bowers, a utility and trading-company analyst at CLSA Asia- Pacific Markets in Tokyo.

That’s what Masayoshi Son, Japan’s second-richest person, would like to do on irradiated farmland around the Fukushima plant, including the strict no-go area that can’t be used for crops or grazing.

The CEO of mobile-phone-service provider Softbank Corp. (9984) is eager to press ahead with a vast array of solar plants producing more than 200 megawatts, enough to power about 48,600 homes. He’s awaiting passage of government legislation that would guarantee projects such as his access to the electricity grid. …. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-07-10/tsunami-cities-fight-nuclear-elites-to-create-green-jobs.html

About these ads

July 11, 2012 - Posted by | Japan, renewable

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,134 other followers

%d bloggers like this: