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Public-private council launched to turn Fukushima into green energy hub

JIJI

A public-private council tasked with devising measures to turn Fukushima Prefecture into a renewable energy hub has been set up in the city of Fukushima.

The council, established on Sunday, will draw up an action plan this summer to supply electricity generated by wind power facilities in Fukushima to the Tokyo metropolitan area and to produce hydrogen for fuel cell vehicles.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe proposed the council on March 5 as part of efforts to accelerate reconstruction in one of the three prefectures heavily damaged by the unprecedented March 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis.

The council’s first meeting Sunday was attended by officials from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, the Fukushima Prefectural Government, Tokyo Electric Power Co. and Tohoku Electric Power Co., as well as people from the wind power and fuel cell industries.

METI chief Motoo Hayashi said the private sector needs to intensively conduct investment and research and development activities in Fukushima and said the government would offer its full-fledged cooperation.

Fukushima Gov. Masao Uchibori said, “We want to show the world that Fukushima’s reconstruction is making steady progress.”

The council will discuss the details of a plan to provide about 1.3 million kw of wind power, roughly the same amount generated by a nuclear reactor, to Tepco’s service area.

Tepco and wind power companies in Fukushima will jointly set up a new company for the project, which will receive financial support from the central government.

Also, a system to produce large amounts of hydrogen from renewable energy in Fukushima will be established by 2020, when the Tokyo Olympics will be held. The hydrogen will be supplied to Tokyo and other areas for use in fuel cell vehicles.