Renewable energy has a Siamese twin: energy-use reduction. The two are inseparable, at least with the technologies available in the foreseeable future. The good news is that last summer’s (July and August) electricity consumption was down 14 percent (see http://kaden.watch.impress.co.jp/docs/news/20110928_480111.html), and that was without making long-term structural changes and without turning off the refrigerated vending machines.
With a longer-term commitment and focus, and by skillfully leveraging Japan’s natural sense of societal obligation and team spirit, reducing energy usage enough to make renewable energy economically feasible is a realistic goal.
The not-so-good news is that without daily crisis news, it is difficult to maintain the necessary commitment and focus. Oil is likely to get more expensive over time, perhaps very suddenly, and if Japan is not prepared for energy reduction, then indeed large-scale nuclear energy is likely to make a quick comeback, and the buck will be passed to future generations.
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.