We’re students from Yokohama International School. We were assigned to spread awareness of tidal energy in Japan. From the recent rallies in Tokyo, it is evident that many are going the anti-nuclear route, and some suggest alternative energy sources to gradually replace nuclear power plants.
Tidal energy would be the ideal source. Before the March 2011 nuclear accident, national dependency on nuclear energy had increased to 30 percent. Afterward it proved too perilous and the focus was shifted to fossil fuels to compensate. Opinions continue to waver over whether nuclear energy is more practical.
Both fossil fuels and nuclear energy have ramifications for the environment and our health. The ideal energy source would be environmentally friendly, cheap and readily available; would generate sufficient energy; and would not rely heavily on a monopoly [for distribution of electricity]. Tidal energy could potentially be all these things.
The machinery used is not unsightly as it’s hidden underwater. It can operate for long periods. Solar panels last about 30 years; tidal energy machinery can last up to 100 years. Prices are high, but so are other alternative energy sources. They pay for themselves in the long run. Until then, the government can subsidize the costs.
This energy source seems neglected. It should be appraised further before we take the shortcut to nuclear energy and fossil fuels. Our point is not that tidal energy is the perfect energy source without flaws but that there doesn’t seem to be a distinctive weakness to it. So why is there so little implementation of this energy source in Japan, especially when fossil fuels and nuclear energy have been so detrimental?
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.