A public-private sector consortium tasked with promoting alternative energy in Fukushima Prefecture will start building new power transmission networks next fiscal year.
The consortium, made up of central government agencies, the Fukushima Prefectural Government and electric power companies, met on Sept. 7. It formulated a plan to make the prefecture staggered by 2011 mega-quake, tsunami and nuclear disaster a pioneer in clean energy.
The prefecture has announced plans to create two new wind power generation zones.
The coastal zone, which is close to Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings Inc.’s crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, encompasses the cities and towns of Minamisoma, Namie, Futaba, Okuma, Tomioka, Naraha and Hirono.
The other is the inland Fukushima Abukuma zone, covering Tamura and the villages of Kawauchi and Katsurao. Together, the zones are expected to be among the biggest bases for wind power in Japan.
But due to the lack of power transmission lines in the mountains of Abukuma, operators have dragged their feet on the project.
According to the plan, private-sector companies, as well as Tepco and Tohoku Electric Power Co., will set up a new company tasked with building, maintaining and running power transmission lines. Construction will be financed by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, which has requested ¥10 billion for the project in fiscal 2017 budget.
The METI subsidy is expected to make it easier for private-sector firms to join the project, as they will not have to make huge capital investments. It is also hoped the project will generate new industries and jobs.
Fukushima Prefecture will start to study the areas where new power lines can be built, with plans to begin construction in fiscal 2017.
The transmission lines will be used to send both wind and solar power by connecting four power generation facilities in the Hama-dori coastal area and the Abukuma mountains with a transformer substation in the town of Tomioka.
The power generated will be used not only in Fukushima, but also in the Tokyo metropolitan area. The consortium hopes to start transmitting power by 2020, when Tokyo hosts the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The total length of the transmission lines is projected to be around 100 km, most of which will be buried under roads. The project will also use existing transmission lines that connect Tepco’s Fukushima No. 2 nuclear plant with the transformer substation.
The prefecture, which plans to have renewable energy sources cover all its energy needs by 2040, as opposed to around 20 percent as of 2009, is surveying the best sites for wind power production.
The prefecture plans to pick the operators for the wind project in the Abukuma area at the end of this fiscal year. But it has yet to find firms willing to participate in the coastal project.