A recent interview with Tetsunari Iida gives a more enlightened look at Japan’s energy challenges. Much doom and gloom is thrown at Japan’s situation, mostly by people and entities that stand to lose something if Japan’s changes their energy policy.
Iida points out that Japan is using no more coal than before and that much of the “need” for nuclear has been resolved by energy efficiency measures as all but 2 reactors remain offline. These have been mostly just smarter use of power rather than deprivation tactics. Japan’s nuclear power percentage was about 20% before the 3-11 disaster, efficiency measures have gained 10-20% in power savings.
The solar feed in tariff PM Kan negotiated on his way out of office has also played a big role in changing Japan’s energy mix. Private industry jumped at the chance to invest in solar. What has really made a major change is people’s willingness to change the way they use power in order to conserve. Most of this was voluntary and was done through smarter use of power rather than painful cut backs.
One such painless chance is Coca-Cola Japan’s new vending machines. These machines switch most of the cooling to off peak night hours, reducing daytime power use by 95% yet still providing cold drinks 24-7. This is a big idea in a country dominated by vending machines.
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