- Target: Cover a minimum of 100% of primary energy demand with renewable resources by 2040
- Status: In progress
- RES: Windpower, solar thermal heating, photovoltaics, biomass for power and heating, geothermal energy, and hydropower.
- Implementation: The prefecture of Fukushima is located in the Tōhoku region on the east coast of Japan on the island of Honshu. The Great East Japan earthquake and subsequent tsunami and disaster at the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power plant in March 2011 motivated the people of Fukushima to re-examine their energy system and ways of restoring industry in the shattered region. This led to the vision of transitioning to renewable energy as a way forward. Fukushima now has officially committed to cover a minimum of 100% of primary energy demand in Fukushima with renewable resources by 2040. Part of this plan involves taking advantage of strong offshore wind by building a large floating wind farm off the coast of Fukushima. The total cost of the farm is estimated to be ¥18.8 billion (approx. $189 million USD). Still, the first 2 MW turbine was delivered in 2013. In 2015, Phase 2 was completed, bringing online two 7 MW wind turbines.
By 2020, the goal is to have 143 large wind turbines totalling 1 GW in capacity 10 miles off the Fukushima coast. The massive size of turbines will call for them to be locally constructed, which means local jobs in manufacturing and maintenance. With its existing automotive and airplane industries, useful components to the wind turbine industry will be available. The Fukushima plan also envisions other technologies and resources, including solar thermal heating, photovoltaics, biomass for power and heating, geothermal energy, and hydropower. Fukushima Prefecture has held several educational and industry events to attract support for its renewable energy plan.
- Population: 1,877,876 (2018)
- Area: 13,782.76 km2 (5,321.55 sq mi)
- Link: https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2018/03/11/national/fukushima-powers-toward-100-goal-renewables-grid-cost-woes-linger/#.XHP93C2ZOIY
- Target: 100% energy self-sufficiency by 2050.
- Status: In progress
- RES: Wind and biomass energy.
- Implementation: Hokkaido is the second largest of the four main Japanese islands, and the largest of its 47 prefectures. Hokkaido is recognised as having great potential for renewable energies, notably wind energy and biomass. Its economy is based on agriculture and the timber industry (22% of Japan's forests is located on the island). According to a 2011 study by the Japanese Ministry of Environment, the island has the potential to generate a quarter of the whole country’s renewable energy production, with half of it from onshore and a quarter of it from offshore wind power generation. Several pioneer projects have already implemented on the island since 2001. Among those facilities are the first community-based wind power installation in Japan. Indeed Hokkaido's efforts began on March 11th, 2011 when the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster strengthened the will of Hokkaido’s citizens to transition to a non-nuclear society. It triggered the creation of the Hokkaido Energy Transition 100 Project, a project which quickly released a step-by-step roadmap to 100% renewable energies for electricity production on the island through energy efficiency and community based production of energy. In 2010, Hokkaido Island still relied mainly on nuclear power (43,8%), and thermal power (33,8%). The share of renewable was of 22,9%, where hydro power constituted 22,1%. The Hokkaido roadmap would diversify the renewable energy sources of the island with solar, biomass, geothermal and especially wind power generation. The roadmap would also outline short, mid and long term objectives to reach for energy efficiency: 17% of savings on 2010 basis in 2020, 29% in 2030 and finally, 60% in 2050. To achieve steady implementation, the Plan is promoting the sharing of best practices between inhabitants of the island. Since the beginning of the project, citizens and private businesses have been supporting the project, including the Hokkaido University Sustainable Low-Carbon Society Project. In May 2014, the “Hokkaido Energy Change 100 Network” was founded with the aim of continuing the steerage of activities towards the 100% target.
- Population: 5,377,435 (2016)
- Area: 83,453.57 km2 (32,221.60 sq mi)
- Link: https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/10/14/business/balance-power-shift-toward-renewable-energy-appears-picking-steam/#.XGQGSy3MyIY
Kurimajima, Miyako City, Japan
- Target: 100% renewable energy
- Status: In progress
- RES: Solar photovoltaics
- Implementation: Kurimajima is a remote Japanese island, part of the Miyakojima Islands and municipality in the South of Okinawa prefecture. The island's only connection to the main island of Miyakojima is a 1,690-meter long bridge and is named after Kurima Island. The Miyakojima Islands are well known in Japan for their tropical landscape and turquoise blue sea. Today they are known as the energy transition pioneers in using small and autonomous energy systems. The 100% renewable energy target originated from the need to preserve local groundwater and ecosystem. The island has a rich and unique marine ecosystem and is one of the most popular islands in Japan for tourism. In 2008, its focus on protecting the environment was outlined in the Eco-Island Miyakojima Declaration. It defined clear goals to cut carbon emissions levels in the island: 40 percent in 2030 compared to 2003 carbon emissions, and 70 percent in 2050. To achieve this, energy for heating, transport and electricity would come from renewable sources. To date, the island has installed many small-scale power systems, such as photovoltaic panel on houses or local businesses buildings. Solar power generation accounts for 380 kW and storage batteries for 100kW-176kW. A management system of the supply and demand has been tested since 2011 in collaboration with the company Toshiba. The involvement of the municipality and the knowledge of private stakeholders’ have helped build smart-community grids. These systems are working to stabilise energy supply on the remote island.
- Population: 200
- Area: 2,84 km²
- Link: https://www.nedo.go.jp/content/100788811.pdf
- Target: 100% renewable energy
- Status: Achieved
- RES: Wind power and solar power
- Implementation: In 2005, the Japanese town of Kuzumaki officially set the target of producing 100% of its energy needs through local renewable sources. The town council decided to implement several measures to increase awareness and involvement of its residents by holding town meetings, establishing educational tours, and publishing a monthly newsletter. Energy demonstration projects were initiated. In collaboration with private businesses, the city began to promote and implement wind power, biomass plants and other renewables.
Today, Kuzumaki produces more than 100% of their energy needs through renewable sources. Around 180% of its energy needs is met through local renewable energy Institutional support. A subsidy of 30,000 yen per kW (max of 90,000 yen) is made available for solar PV installation with up to 50,000 yen available for installation of solar heating systems. To address transportation needs, the town offers 50,000 yen subsidies for the purchase of hybrid or electric vehicles. One half of the installation cost (max of 100,000 yen) is also available for installation of wood biomass heating systems (wood chip, pellet stoves). And 100,000 yen subsidies are possible for other renewables such as small hydro and wind power.
Kuzumaki's road to 100% began in 1999 when the municipality inaugurated its ‘New Energy Vision’ program, with support from the New Energy Foundation (NEF) and the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO). Prior to this, the municipality had invested in Eco-World Kuzumaki Wind Power, Ltd. In June 1999, three 400kw-windmills were installed in Sodeyama-kogen Ranch, with enough electricity produced for 900 households, which is sold to the Tohoku Electric Power. Current annual turnover is 28 million yen, and the town also gets property tax income (20 million yen annually, averaged over 15 years). In March 2000, a solar power generator was installed in Kuzumaki Junior High School. This generates 50kw of electricity, but provides 25% of the school’s demand, and also encourages the students to get interested in clean energy. A survey to check wind conditions was conducted over two years and revealed promising sites for wind power generation. In 2001, the Green Power Kuzumaki Wind-Power Generation, Ltd. was founded. In 2002, twelve 1,750kw wind were installed, providing electricity for 16,000 households. The municipality supported the project by helping arrange planning permission and facilitating the procedures prior to the construction phase. In 2000, a feasibility study into bio-mass energy was conducted. In 2002, a generation facility was built using animal manure mixed with kitchen waste to produce methane gas, which is then used for electricity generation. Slurry left from the process is used as fertilizer. Its forests provide a valuable resource for making wood chips, with forestry waste used to make wood-pellet fuel. In Kuzumaki, the local winery uses a boiler with wood-pellet fuel. Another source of energy is hydropower at its ‘Seven Waterfalls’ area. The town also runs a ‘Natural Energy School’, which has its own windmill and solar-power generator.
- Population: 6,149 (2016)
- Area: 434.99 km2 (167.95 sq mi)
- Link: https://www.gef.or.jp/20club/E/kuzumaki-e.htm
- Target: Become a carbon free island by achieving a 100% renewable energy target.
- Status: Achieved
- RES: Hydropower, windpower, electric vehicle (EV) system.
- Implementation: Yakushima is the fifth biggest island in Japan, located South of Japan's main island, and part of Kagoshima Prefecture. The island’s main economic activity is the production of SiCO3. The total electricity consumption of 7500 million kWh per year is completely covered by renewables. Because of its unique scenery and specific ecosystem, most of the Island is part of the Kirishima-Yaku National Park and World Heritage Site. In 2009, the municipality committed to a “Carbon Free Island Yakushima” initiative and a 100% RE target. To achieve this, the plan was to expand hydropower, wind power systems, and install an electrical vehicle (EV) system. Since the power grid of the island is owned by Yakushima municipality, rather than Japan's mainland monopolies, the island is able to split its electricity services between three distinct activities; generation, distribution and supply side. The municipality owns the power grid, and three local cooperatives are distributing and supplying the electricity in the island, along with Kyusyu Power Company. Finally, Yakushima Denko Company is producing the electricity consumed on the island. It has been operating since the late 1950’s. The island benefits from excellent hydropower potentials: rainfall is around twice as much compared to the rest of Japan (4,500 mm per year) and the island has many waterfalls. In 1953, the island's first waterfall hydropower plant, Chihiro (1,000Kwh) began supplying the island with most of its electricity. Since then, the Awa hydropower plant (capacity of 10,9000Kwh) and the upgrading of the two power plants in 1979 – from 1,000 to 1,300Kwh for Chihiro and from 10,9000 Kwh to 32,000 Kwh for Awa power plant has been in operation. In addition, auxiliary thermal generators are used as backups in case of low rainfall and during maintenance, critical as the island is a closed electricity grid. For Yakushima’s community and stakeholders, renewable energy systems have provided the most robust and safe solution for them since the island is repeatedly impacted by water disasters such as typhoons or floods. In cooperation with Kagoshima prefecture, Yakushima has been investigating the potential of new transport technologies, such as EV, HEV and Fuel Cell Cars since 1990. The share of EV is still only in 1% in the island, but the local governments are now working with Nissan and Mitsubishi to develop new electrical vehicles completely powered by renewables. In order to promote EV, Kagoshima prefecture is offering financial incentives to buyers, as high as half the price of the vehicle. In relation to energy saving and awareness among civil society, the island promotes educational programs in school and public seminars, as well as a contest called “CO2 Diet” among inhabitants, to reduce energy consumption through behavioural and lifestyle changes.
- Population: 13,178 (2010)
- Area: 504.88 km2 (194.94 sq mi)
- Link: http://www.globalislands.net/greenislands/index.php?region=9&c=45
- Target: Supply 100% of the electricity needed for housing, the business and industry sector with local renewable energy by 2050
- Status: In progress
- RES: Wind, hydro, biomass, solar, and geothermal
- Implementation: Yusuhara Town is a small remote town in Kochi prefecture, Japan. It is one of 13 cities in Japan to have been awarded the ‘Environmental Model City’ label. Today, the town utilizes alternative renewable sources of energy, namely wind, water, biomass, solar, and geothermal. Due to its location with the most optimum wind conditions in the country (an annual average speed of 7.2m/s), generating power from wind energy has been the most efficient for Yusuhara. Since 91% of the total area of 23,651 ha of Yusuhara Town is forest, the town employs forest thinning and uses forestry waste to generate heat energy. Forest thinning helps reduce and prevent overcrowding and competition for sunlight and nutrients. Smaller trees that are chopped down are either used to create new furniture or to produce wood pellets for fuel. Hence, the woody biomass aids in the revitalisation of the local economy. And by substituting other materials such as cement with this wood, it helps to reduce pollution.
- Population: 3,640 (2017)
- Area: 236.51 km2 (91.32 sq mi)
- Link: Eco-Model City Initiatives in the Town of Yusuhara