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Japan’s Fukushima Region Emerges as the First State to Produce Renewable Energy After a Nuclear Disaster

by Editor CTS
11 years since the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the Japanese are investing in various projects, including installing solar panels across the coast, green energy microgrids and clean hydrogen production technology to fulfill their energy requirements. A year after the incident, the regional government set up a goal of sourcing all its energy from renewable sources by 2040. 
Additionally, the national government also provided financial support to boost progress. Renewable sources produced 43 percent of the total energy consumed in Fukushima in the year 2020. The production has increased by 24 percent since 2011. Though the production increased substantially, the price of the energy and the health problems caused by it is still a problem.
“A strong desire to never see a repeat of such an accident was the most important starting point for the drive,” said Noriaki Saito, energy director at the prefecture’s planning department, told AFP.
Photo credit: Pixabay

Projects reactivated after the Fukushima nuclear disaster

Solar farms

The solar farm project was reactivated after the disaster and completed in 2020. Under this project, solar panels were installed along the coastal lines of the Fukushima plant. The aim was to generate clean hydrogen using solar energy to fulfill fuel demands. Fuel produced at the “Fukushima Hydrogen Energy Research Field” in Namie is now used for small-scale purposes such as refilling local fuel-cell cars. The site aims to use renewable energy to produce hydrogen when there is additional energy production in the country, helping reduce energy wastage.

Wind farms and biomass power plants

After the disaster, wind farms, biomass power plants and solar farms are being constructed in the Fukushima mountain regions for sustainable energy production. However, local people believe that the price of solar-generated electricity is a bit higher than conventional energy. This indicates that price is still a concern for energy consumers.
“When we explain this to our customers, they often say they prefer cheaper electricity. I feel like the understanding is still not there,” said Motoaki Sagara, CEO of Apollo Group (an energy provider in Fukushima).


Microgrids are another renewable project persuading people to use renewable sources- generated energy. This project involves energy production, distribution and consumption within the same place, Katsurao.
Katsurao is a small village near the Fukushima plant which was evacuated due to radioactive contamination after the nuclear disaster. The village used to have a rice field that stored radioactive materials when workers were decontaminating the site. However, a project operating since 2020, installed a solar farm whose energy is routed to the village.

“The villagers… expressed a strong desire to live with natural sources of energy when they returned to their homes following lengthy evacuations,” said Seiichi Suzuki, vice-president of Katsurao Electric Power. He calls the village the first autonomous community with a micro-grid in Japan.

Currently, solar farms produce 40 percent of the total electricity or energy consumption yearly. Solar-generated energy has helped numerous villagers and is decreasing their dependency on formal energy sources keeping in mind the safety of people and the environment.
“When you use electricity created in the community, it’s easier to see how it’s generated,” said Hideaki Ishii, a restaurant worker at Katsurao. “I feel safer that way, and it’s good for the environment,” he said.

Contributed by: Simran Dolwani

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