Renewal of Fukushima and other Tohoku Prefectures Through MicroSolar Power Stations
Hello everyone. I am trying to create a project to turn one of the greatest nuclear power disasters in history into an great leap forward in the generation of clean, eco-friendly electrical power.
Many farming areas in the North East prefectures of Japan have unusable either due to radiation levels or inundation by salt water, and are now laying fallow. Even if the levels of radiation reduce to safe levels sometime in the future, regaining the trust of produce from these areas will take much longer. This has had a disastrous effect on the livelihoods of those living in this area.
We propose to put this land to use to provide affected farmers with income and also to relieve the lack of power available in these areas by making these area into a grid model of micro solar power generation facilities.
We need your assistance to:
Survey the areas within the Tohoku prefectures that will suitable for setting up the solar stations.
Negotiating the use of the land and assisting in regulatory compliance to enable providing power to the grid in the areas.
Working to make sure that the farmers and rural residents whose land is being used will be fairly compensated.
Working with solar power generation and storage providers to source cost-effective solutions for the micro-solar scale installations.
Initiating information and education programs in the Tohoku region to help homeowners transition from traditional energy-inefficient Japanese housing to modern standards that retain heat and cooling whilst requiring less power.
For many this will go a long way to offset the loss of their livelihoods and lack of proper compensation from the central Tokyo government who seem to be more interested in spending money on the 2020 Olympics than the people still suffering from the after-effects of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
Goals: Build ten initial installations by the end of 2015 with a forecast growth of 30-50 new installations each following year. By 2020 we hope to have at least 250-300 micro solar installations.
Why Now? Almost four years on, post-tsunami relief efforts have wound down now that many who were living in temporary housing have moved back to their homes or alternative housing. Many programs that were concentrated on providing immediate relief such as food in the months after the disaster are now no longer relevent. What is needed is an eventually self-sustaining program that provides long-term opportunities for the people in the affected areas. Although there have been some solar plants set up and other programs under way, they are either restricted to larger scales amongst the big towns and cities or are designed to allow farmers on existing arable land to do both farming and harvest solar power. The excessive restrictions on the type of solar installations and the fact that land must be usable for farming make this unsuitable for the farmers this project seeks to assist.
Why this area? The northeast of Japan has traditionally been reliant on nuclear electricity due to the rough terrain and lack of hydro power opportunities as opposed to the more mountainous areas further west. Removal of nuclear power has created dependency on more expensive imported kerosene and natural gas which are subject to delivery interruptions creating even further hardship. These also do not represent a long-term energy self-sufficiency solution.
What are the difficulties? The most difficult obstructions are actually not geographic or technical. Electrical power generation and distribution in Japan is subject to the whims of very politically powerful and self-protective utilities companies like the Tokyo Electrical Power Company (TEPCO) The utilities are traditionally pro-nuclear as it allows them to create power monopolies with highly-centralized plants producing power they can sell at high prices. Allowing thousands of small micro-producers to cut into that monopoly is a threat. the utilities have actually created barriers to the implementation of renewables such as byzantine interconnection policies and implementing either excessively low prices or completely eliminating buy-back for individual home production.
This project seeks to show the needs of the hundreds of thousands of individuals affected by the events of 2011 matter more than the balance sheets of an outdated power monopoly.
Who am I? I am a British-Canadian 15-year resident of Japan who is a project manager in the IT industry and who has had a long-term interest in alternate energy sources and efficient power use. I was in Japan on March 11, 2011 and subsequently participated in volunteer relief efforts including several trips to Fukushima delivering food supplies to displaced people living in temporary housing.