• Kyodo

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Japan’s first commercial hydroelectric plant has won a coveted Milestones award by a U.S.-based organization for its contribution to local modernization, the Kyoto Municipal Government and Kansai Electric Power Co. said.

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineering, which recognizes historic achievements in the field of electrical engineering and information, gave the award on Monday to Kyoto and Kepco in a ceremony in the city for the utility’s Keage Power Station.

The plant first began generating power in 1891, when it opened as a facility run by the city.

It contributed to the launch the nation’s first electric train, in Kyoto in 1895, and helped mechanize local businesses. For example, the electricity powered a textile factory.

The Keage power plant harnesses energy from the Lake Biwa Canal. It has a maximum output of 4,500 kW.

The plant is still in operation as a facility of Kansai Electric.

It is the second time for Kepco to bag the award — it won the first one in 2010 for its Kurobe River No. 4 Hydro Power Station in Toyama Prefecture — and the 29th for Japan.

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