20% renewable target too timid?

Takasaki, Gunma

Regarding the May 27 article “Kan sets 20% target for renewable energy“: I can’t help thinking that the 20 percent target is a little under-ambitious. I built my house six years ago, and if the local government at the time had offered incentives for me to add solar power to my house, I would have jumped at it. As it was, my city was one of a select few that didn’t, and I could ill-afford to buy it.

Getting construction companies to make this feature standard on all new houses would go a long way toward reducing our reliance on nonrenewable sources.

Japan is an extremely windy country, and Gunma is one of the windiest prefectures. There are many free usable places to construct wind turbines without interfering with people as well as much agricultural land of which a small portion could be used to farm wind. I am strongly considering putting up my own small wind turbines, a product that many companies in Japan have “not recommended.” Add to wind power the possibility of sea tidal turbines and I am sure the government could not only surpass the 20 percent target but also reduce the need for nuclear energy.

One of many cities in Europe to consider as an example would be Germany’s Freiburg. Many homeowners have installed solar panels; municipal buildings and factories also have them installed. The overall result has been a drop in energy costs and carbon dioxide emissions by 30 percent.

If Japan’s national government doesn’t do enough, local governments could step up.

Can we turn more train stations into energy savers with rooftop solar panels? Can some sections of our expressways use solar panels? Where can we make improvements easily?

Another question that should have journalists buzzing is: What is the progress of the joint Tokyo Electric Power Co.-Tokyo University offshore wind program that began in 2009? There are bound to be some results that could put many of us at ease.

mb_

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

daniel potocki