Floating Wind Turbines May Wean Japan From Nuclear Energy
Nuclear energy is a clean technology that produces no emissions, provides high-paying jobs and could be a viable alternative bridging us when renewables can truly scale and power the world. Unfortunately, the Fukushima disaster 2 ½ years ago spooked many citizens and global leaders. Now, major industrial powers such Germany are backing away from nuclear, Great Britain is in a tizzy over a nuclear plant slated to open in 2023 and of course Japan is rethinking its energy policy. In the case of nuclear energy, politics often trumps sound policy. True, Japan’s energy companies were not forthcoming about these reactors’ problems. But in a world where energy is scarce, all forms of energy have got to be considered.
So could “floating” wind turbines compensate and help meet Japan’s energy requirements?
Wind power projects are on the upswing despite the controversy they engender across the globe. Offshore wind projects are especially challenging to plan because many coastal communities, and business owners, object to the cost and of course, their appearance.
But next month, Japan will roll out a floating windmill that will generate enough power to electrify 1,700 homes. The eventual plan will expand the projects to 140 such stations off of Japan’s coast that in total will provide one gigawatt of power to the country’s gig—or the equivalent of one nuclear power plant. Since Fukushima, Japan has struggled powering its homes and businesses while importing more fossil fuels, which in turn have caused the nation’s carbon emissions to spike. In sum, Japanese energy policy is a mess.
Such a move is important because despite Japan’s technological prowess, it has lagged in the development of clean energy. These floating wind turbines could be a step in reviving Japan’s culture of innovation that turned this country into a dominant power during the late 20th century.
[Image credit: Wikipedia]