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2012 Mar 16. Japan's Green Renewal? After the Disasters UN Tour

posted Mar 31, 2012, 7:59 AM by Alan D. GOULD BA
| by Warren Karlenzig, Post Carbon Institute. An article pertinent to Energy Use chapter 4. Excerpt: ...Prior to the Fukushima disaster, Japan relied on nuclear energy for 25-30% of its needs. this summer the last two remaining nuclear plants operating in Japan (out of 54) will be shut down, at least temporarily, and there are many signs throughout the nation that electric power is already in short supply. Although outdoor temperatures were hovering in the 20s and 30s (0 to -4C), we attended multiple meetings circled around one or two kerosene heaters, in buildings using almost no electric light, without the use of central indoor heating. Is this a glimpse into what a business-as-usual energy future looks like in other industrial countries?

...One meeting in a luxury high-rise hotel in Minami Sanriku had a planned blackout for two hours while we met with business and community volunteer leaders, along with the hotel's owner, who had sheltered and fed 400 community members after the tsunami (the bottom two stories were damaged but the rest of the building was habitable). Staff handed out heavy winter parkas so we could continue our discussions in relative warmth.

...Besides jackets, Japan has been using technology to cope with its new dilemma. Utility sponsored websites and mobile apps let people know exactly when to conserve the most, which they have been doing by hanging wet clothes to dry in south-facing windows or balconies, and by curtailing use of light, heat or appliances. So far Japanese society has reduced its energy use to meet a 25% power deficit, but the margin between rolling or planned blackouts and power is paper thin, even in Tokyo.