Saturday, September 3, 2011

No. 80: Local production for local consumption of renewable energy (September 4, 2011)

In Kagoshima Prefecture, Isa city will start small-size hydraulic generation using the “Waterfall of Sogi,” a sightseeing spot called Niagara of the East, in collaboration with Nippon Koei that is a construction engineering company in 2012. The city provides land and Nippon Koei builds generation facilities with an investment of about 4,000 million yen. The annual generation capacity is scheduled to be at 3,540,000 kW equivalent to the annual consumption of 1,000 households. Most of the electricity generated will be sold to Kyushu Electric Power Company and the rest will be used for the lighting of the park.

In Chiba Prefecture, two waterworks are operating micro hydraulic generators that generate using the water pressure needed to send water from water the purification plants to them. The combined annual generation capacity is 2,400,000 kW equivalent to the annual consumption of about 700 households.

In Shizuoka Prefecture, four hot spring resorts are planning to hot-spring generation that runs a turbine by boiling hot water with the help of ammonia water that has a lower boiling point than water. The hot water needs to be at least 70 degrees centigrade, and the ideal temperature is 90 degrees centigrade. The feasibility study has already started, and the four resorts plan to start business operation in 2013.

In Miyagi Prefecture, Sendai University developed two-meters-square equipment that allows people to generate electricity by treading the artificial grass in collaboration with Soundpower Corp. that is a venture company in Kanagawa Prefecture. The research team organizes futsal games to play on the equipment for feasibility experiments. The first artificial grass developed by Sendai University was 50 cm square, and the initial product had the ability to generate electricity to let an LED bulb gleam only for 2.5 seconds. Continuous and strenuous efforts are being made to increase the generation efficiency.

The joint research conducted by Institute for Sustainable Energy and Chiba University, the self-supply ratio of renewable energy varies considerably with prefectures. Kyushu Electric Power has the highest ratio of 25% because it has the Hachohara-Otake Geothermal Generation Plant, and Tokyo is worst with 0.2%. It is well foreseen that each local government will make further efforts to develop renewable energy, seeking the best solution to mitigate the dependence on nuclear power generation.

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