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Japan Solar Energy Soars, But Grid Needs to Catch Up
National Geographic ^ | 08/14/2013 | Yvonne Chang

Posted on 08/15/2013 8:00:36 PM PDT by TexGrill

Hokkaido, Japan's second largest and northernmost island, is known for its beautiful wild nature, delicious seafood, and fresh produce. Now another specialty is taking root: Large-scale megasolar power plants that take advantage of the island's unique geography.

A new renewable energy incentive program has Japan on track to become the world's leading market for solar energy, leaping past China and Germany, with Hokkaido at the forefront of the sun power rush. In a densely populated nation hungry for alternative energy, Hokkaido is an obvious choice to host projects, because of the availability of relatively large patches of inexpensive land. Unused industrial park areas, idle land inside a motor race circuit, a former horse ranch—all are being converted to solar farms. (See related, "Pictures: A New Hub for Solar Tech Blooms in Japan.")

But there's a problem with this boom in Japan's north. Although one-quarter of the largest solar projects approved under Japan's new renewables policy are located in Hokkaido, the island accounts for less than 3 percent of the nation's electricity demand. Experts say Japan will need to act quickly to make sure the power generated in Hokkaido flows to where it is needed. And that means modernizing a grid that currently doesn't have capacity for all the projects proposed, installing a giant battery—planned to be the world's largest—to store power when the sun isn't shining, and ensuring connections so power can flow across the island nation. (See related, "In Japan, Solar Panels Aid in Tsunami Rebuilding.")

(Excerpt) Read more at news.nationalgeographic.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Science; Society
KEYWORDS: japaneconomy
Global business tip
1 posted on 08/15/2013 8:00:36 PM PDT by TexGrill
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To: TexGrill

Way better than nukes. And who can blame them after Fukushima.


2 posted on 08/15/2013 9:46:51 PM PDT by gunsequalfreedom (Conservative is not a label of convenience. It is a guide to your actions.)
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To: TexGrill

Japan must have more expendable real estate than I thought.


3 posted on 08/16/2013 12:21:47 AM PDT by clearcarbon
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