Friday, February 24, 2012

No. 40: Local governments grow more serious about introducing renewable energy (February 25, 2012)

Business trend
Local governments across the country will intensify their efforts to introduce renewable energy with increased investment. Japanese prefectures combined allocated about 52 billion yen for renewable energy in 2012. Making the best use of regional characteristics, every local government will solidify the system of local production for local consumption of energy. Kanagawa Prefecture appropriated 866 million yen to build a large-scale photovoltaic generation plant (mega solar plant) with an output capacity of 2,000 kW. The plant to be operated by the prefecture is scheduled to go into operation in the summer of 2013. Niigata Prefecture will install generating equipment with an investment of 400 million yen in the mega solar it built last October to increase the generation capacity to 2,000 kW coming July.

Surrounded by the sea, Okinawa Prefecture plans to establish a generation system that uses the temperature difference between warm water close to the ocean surface and cold water in deep water. It will start a project in one of its islands. Two prefectures will start research on the utilization of wave force and tidal force. Another prefecture will utilize groundwater for the air-conditioning of greenhouses to grow vegetables and flowers. The system is to pump up groundwater for heat exchange using heat pump. Efforts to develop technology for power storage are also accelerating. Railway Technical Research Institute is developing a technology to store electricity generated by solar light and wind power through the application of the technology used for the linear motor car.  

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