Written By: Natalie Baer
Fukushima, the Japanese province burdened with 2011’s tsunami and nuclear disaster, has pledged to switch to 100% renewable energy by 2040.
Prompted to reassess their energy systems after the combined disasters of the 2011 Great East Japan earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown, the Fukushima community has set a goal of becoming 100% renewable by 2040.
The new target, announced this week at Fukushima’s Community Power Conference, aims to wean the region off fossil fuels over the next 26 years. They hope to turn their infamous history into an opportunity to tackle climate change.
To reach the new target, renewable energy will be generated locally through community energy initiatives. Development within the region is particularly suited to wind farms because of the great size of wind turbines. Local construction will open up manufacturing and maintenance jobs to Fukushima’s residents.
Already, Fukushima produces 22% of its primary energy from renewable sources, including the region’s first wind turbine, which was switched on in November 2013. The turbine, situated near the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear power plant, is the first 2-megawatt (MW) turbine to be built as part of a 143-turbine wind farm. Altogether, the wind farm will produce one gigawatt (GW) of energy.
Further plans under the Fukushima Prefecture renewable energy vision include the wide use of other renewable energy technologies. Among these are geothermal energy, hydropower, solar thermal heating, biomass for power and heating and plans to construct the world’s largest solar array.