Japan opens solar energy parks

July 1, 2012
A large-scale solar power plant opens at a startup ceremony in Kyoto. Japan opened several solar energy parks on Sunday as a new law came into force requiring companies to purchase renewable energy at a fixed price in a push for alternatives to nuclear power.

Japan opened several solar energy parks on Sunday as a new law came into force requiring companies to purchase renewable energy at a fixed price in a push for alternatives to nuclear power.

The openings come on the same day engineers began refiring an atomic reactor, despite growing public protests in the aftermath of meltdowns at , ending nearly two months in which Japan was nuclear-free.

A new solar centre opened in Kyoto in western Japan, while various municipalities also started up installations able to provide energy for hundreds of thousands of households.

Japanese telecommunications Softbank chief Masayoshi Son, opposed to nuclear energy since a powerful earthquake and tsunami last year that crippled reactor cooling systems, said it had plans for 11 solar or windpower centres in Japan.

The push to invest in is a mark of Japan's search for alternatives to nuclear power, as 49 reactors out of 50 in the country have been shut down for safety checks and amid growing public protests.

The new law that took effect on Sunday requiring power companies to purchase all renewable energy at a fixed tariff is aimed at encouraging firms to pursue sustainable initiatives.

The government estimates the power provided by renewable energy this year in Japan will attain 2,500 , the equivalent of two medium-sized nuclear reactors.

Explore further: Japan 'plans solar panels for all new buildings'

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5 / 5 (2) Jul 02, 2012
Good for them. It's always astonishing how fast Japan can rebuild after a natural desaster (you should google pics from before the Kobe earthquake and just one year later. It's freaky).

From what I have seen at conferences there are really only two types of research that they do. Either it's 'feasibility studies' (i.e. : "who's at fault if we do X and X doesn't work") or they go completely overkill on a subject (I've seen them construct a full exoskeleton for a technician to stand in and operate - just to have a haptic interface for moving a biopsy needle 2cm back and forth).

If they go into 'full overkill' mode they'll be self sufficient in no time.
not rated yet Jul 02, 2012
I applaud these efforts, although I feel they are more for show than for practicality. Their population density verses available land means that they have no other option than fission.

Even our trusty fallback (unfortunately), coal, is impractical and way too expensive for japan because they have to import all that they burn.

Here's to hoping that Japan ushers in the next wave of hyper-efficient passively safe fission reactors.
4 / 5 (1) Jul 02, 2012
Their population density verses available land means that they have no other option than fission.

More than 70 percent of Japan is mountainous/forest regions which is not densely inhabited (because it isn't fit for agriculture). Only the coastal regions - and especialy Tokyo - are very densely populated (Tokyo alone houses about 10 percent of the population).

I think they may be able to plaster a few mountains with solar. And don't forget: It's an island. So off-shore windfarms and wave energy should be abundantly available. Heck, they've even been dabbling in off-shore solar.
4 / 5 (1) Jul 02, 2012
Off shore is cool. I'm not down with destroying tons of mountain habitat if it isn't necessary.

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