Fukushima to turn unusable farmland into wind and solar "mega park" | RenewEconomy

Fukushima to turn unusable farmland into wind and solar “mega park”

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Fukushima, host to one of world’s worst nuclear disasters, set to start work on 21 solar and wind farms, in a $US2.7 billion renewable energy rebirth.

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Japan’s Fukushima Prefecture, the scene of the world’s most recent nuclear disasters in 2011, will transform its now unusable agricultural land into wind and solar farms, as part of a $US2.7 billion renewable energy rebirth.

The Nikkei reports that the federal government-backed project includes plans for 11 solar farms and 10 wind farms with a total capacity of 600MW, scheduled for completion by March 2024.

An 80km long grid connection is also planned for construction, to connect the renewables hub with the network of Tokyo Electric Power Co – a task that is separately costed at roughly ¥29 billion ($A388 million).

The electricity generated will be sent to the Tokyo metropolitan area – as it was by Tepco before the 2011 earthquake and tsunami destroyed its Dai-Ichi nuclear plant.

The Fukushima government has said it expects the new renewables hub to provide 13-14 percent of Japan’s national energy mix by 2030.

According to Bloomberg, Fukushima’s energy minister, Masashi Takeuchi, said the first project would likely be a 20MW solar farm in Minamisoma city in the northern part of the prefecture.

He said that building wind and solar farms on agricultural land that had been tainted by radiation from the nuclear plant meltdown would help rejuvenate the area.

“Fukushima is the third largest prefecture in Japan and has diverse resources (solar, wind power, geothermal power, water resources, forest resources, etc.) and has great potential for introducing renewable energy,” the prefecture government said.

The cost of the renewables transformation, which is expected to kick off in January 2020, is reportedly being underwritten by a group of financiers including the government-owned Development Bank of Japan and private lender Mizuho Bank.

The news puts into action plans the Fukushima government has been working on since the disaster hit, underscored by its 2014 pledge to take the prefecture to 100 per cent renewables by 2040.

It also drives another nail into the coffin for nuclear energy, globally, which – quite apart from concerns around accidental fallout, radiation contamination and legacy waste disposal – is increasingly being seen as too costly and time consuming to build.

Even Tepco – which is Japan’s biggest utility – has made a major pivot away from nuclear, last year revealing plans to develop up to 7GW of new renewable energy capacity, in a bid to re-gain “the competitive advantage.”

Confoundingly, this has not stopped the Australian federal government from going down the path of a parliamentary inquiry into the prerequisites for nuclear energy in Australia.

As IEEFA noted in its submission to that inquiry, nuclear power plants in the US, Finland and UK have suffered extreme time and cost blowouts, while Japan’s Fukushima has been landed with a $US200 billion clean-up bill.

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7 Comments
  1. Honest Mike 7 months ago

    The only way that a space ship can leave our solar system is powered by a nuclear reaction. At the centre of our solar system is a nuclear fusion reaction which provides heat to our planet Earth. without a nuclear reaction at the centre of our solar system , there is no solar or wind power. Solar and wind is about harnessing the raw power of a nuclear fusion reaction at the centre of our solar system……… No one on the planet is going to dispute Japans’s decision to stop building nuclear power planets, although it might be time to change the narrative of Stories like this because without the nuclear fusion reaction of the sun, there never would have been life on this planet. According to Psychologists it is sometimes good to focus on appreciation as opposed to focus on creating new ways of expressing negativity around a devastating event.

    • Shilo 7 months ago

      Hello Mike,
      never thought of it all like that.

    • John Saint-Smith 7 months ago

      Here’s another way of looking at Fukushima. If it had been 150 million km from any humans, and protected by massive planetary scale radiation shields, it wouldn’t have caused nearly so much bother. I rather like the idea of keeping our favourite fusion reactor at an astronomical distance. How about you?

    • JackD 7 months ago

      Queue the music from “Spaceballs”, going where no-one else has gone before (only the Spaceballs ship can travel at Ludicrous Speed).

      What is comedy unfortunately has an unhealthy and eerily familiar ring to it. I do recommend a watch of what I believe is Mel Brooks’ finest film-making effort, to get the gist and the nuance of it all.

      .

    • Ian 7 months ago

      Honestly Mike, are you supporting Nuclear energy in the form of nuclear power plants, or are you not?

      Plonking wind and solar farms on radiation ruined land isn’t really fixing the problem. That was prime agricultural land and provided a livelihood for numerous Japanese people. They can never be properly compensated for that disaster.

      They have just taken a page from the Chernobyl playbook and probably think that is going to do a PR job that will dull the pain and shame of the actual Fukushima disaster.

    • Francesco Nicoletti 7 months ago

      Thousands of years from now when a space ship leaves our solar system it won’t be powered by a uranium pressurised water reactor. We have no idea what technology what will be powering those ships. Right here and right now we just need to find ways of not dropping the human race back into the dark ages.

  2. Billyen 7 months ago

    If Australia ever had a nuclear plant and something did go wrong it would cost the government 200B++. (everyone forgets, no insurance company will touch a nuke.) Beside the actual disaster…it would bankrupt the country for 30 years. Australia isn’t big enough to absorb that. Japan is even having problems recovering.

    Worse case with solar is a few broken panel or with wind…the blades fall off.
    Besides solar and wind being much cheaper and getting cheaper by the month.

    I know which one I prefer.

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