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Published on August 1st, 2011 | by Charis Michelsen

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The Whole Town’s Gone Solar – Potential Model Communities in Fukuyama and Onomichi, Japan

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August 1st, 2011 by  

In Hiroshima Prefecture, both the city of Fukuyama and the private sector are pushing forward with a futuristic “Eco Town.”  In the midst of interest in natural sources of energy, following the nuclear incident in TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, an attempt is being made to acquire and market local “know-how” as quickly as possible to other prefectures in order to stimulate regional revitalization.

According to the prefecture, several public and private organizations are involved in the joint venture in both Fukuyama City and Onomichi City, including the ship-building company Tsuneishi Holdings Corporation, Chugoku Electric Power, and Okayama Prefectural University. Tsuneishi Holdings Corporation’s main branch in the Fukushima City suburb Numakuma and the suburb Urasaki of the adjacent town Onomichi have been designated as model communities. Following installation of solar panels in its factories, Tsuneishi will then target residential areas in the two communities in cooperation with those already living in company housing.

Solar panels are to be connected to electric cars to store energy, and both are then transported to each resident’s home. Energy loss during that time is investigated in order to construct a no-loss system. This information will also be used as PR material for environmental education and study.  The aim is to positively attract inspection agencies of other prefectures, and also to increase tourism in the area.

The supply of electricity allotted to individuals and businesses is regulated by the Electricity Business Act.  Such regulations have been drastically altered in the special areas. The concept will be petitioned in September as the “Environmental Tourism Model: Synthesis of Urban Zone” in order to economically stimulate the region as a national special integrated economic zone.

Hiroshima Prefecture isn’t the only one looking for alternative energy. Softbank’s president Masayoshi Son has proposed construction of a large scale solar power plant (Mega Solar). 35 of Japan’s administrative divisions and 17 ordinance-designated cities have also taken measures such as establishing a conference in order to generate interest and increase activity.

Regarding their proposed model communities, Hiroshima Prefecture enthusiastically said, “Even if the scale of power generated is small, we want to show that practical implementation is possible. We want to set a forward-looking example for the entire country while the effects of the current insufficient energy supply are still affecting our lifestyle.”

Translated from | Picture: Yomiuri Japan

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About the Author

spent 7 years living in Germany and Japan, studying both languages extensively, doing translation and education with companies like Bosch, Nissan, Fuji Heavy, and others. Charis has a Bachelor of Science degree in biology and currently lives in Chicago, Illinois. She also believes that Janeway was the best Star Trek Captain.



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