Japanese municipalities are providing clean energy to homes, businesses and industries by partnering with established electric and gas companies. Some 1,700 towns and cities are harnessing the expertise of existing suppliers to turn their municipalities into “energy sustainable zones,” where all local needs are met by renewable energy. One aspect of this initiative is to future-proof cities from disasters like Fukushima.
Results & Impact
As of 2013, at least 52 municipalities in Japan were “energy sustainable zones,” where energy demand by homes, businesses and industries including agriculture, forestry and fisheries can be satisfied by renewable energy generated locally
The city of Miyama, Miyama Smart Energy, the city of Tottori, Tottori Citizen Electricity Company, Tottori Gas Company, Tottori Environment and Energy Alliance, the town of Nakanojo, Nakanojo Electric Power, a number of other municipalities and energy companies
Municipalities are establishing renewable power companies in partnership with traditional utilities providers, who can lend their expertise with infrastructure and engineering demands. One city, Miyama, established a smart energy company that supplies power to 32 public facilities, including schools and hospitals, and will reinvest profits into local industries
Cost & Value
Running since 2015
Japan is boosting local economies by promoting partnerships that allow for municipal production of renewable energy sources.
Fifty-two municipalities are turning to partnerships with existing electric and gas companies to form new, sustainable energy sources. The partnerships allow the localities to harness the expertise of current energy suppliers.
The country aims to turn localities into “energy sustainable zones” by building neighbourhood energy sources that will not pollute the environment in the case of a natural disaster. The renewable plants will also create job opportunities for locals.
In 2015, the city of Miyama launched its own electricity retail business. The municipality has established the Miyama Smart Energy company through joint investment with other partners, including a regional bank. The business has already begun supplying power to 32 state-owned facilities, including the city’s administrative office and public schools, and is now widening its service area.
To further its shift to renewable energy sources, Miyama has also started buying electricity from solar power facilities. The city encourages citizens to install their own domestic renewable energy systems at home and has instituted a public awareness campaign to curb energy use during peak times in the summer. Miyama Smart Energy will invest profits into local industries like agriculture, forestry, and tourism. Customers will also benefit from services like check-ins for elderly customers.
In 2015, the city of Tottori established a renewable power retail company, the Tottori Citizen Electricity Company, in partnership with the city’s current energy supplier, Tottori Gas Company. The city later formed the Tottori Environment and Energy Alliance with six local companies to support renewable power sources. Nakanojo, a town with a population of only 17,000, was the first Japanese municipality to enter the electricity retail market. Nakanojo Electric Power operates its business jointly with a Japanese renewable energy power retailer called V-Power. Nakanojo Electric Power focuses on developing and buying solar power.
According to 2013 figures, at least 52 municipalities in Japan are already “energy sustainable zones,” where energy demand by homes, businesses and industries including agriculture, forestry and fisheries can be satisfied by renewable energy generated within the area.
(Picture credit: Flickr/S.)