Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Japan wants more small hydro systems

Japan plans to add more renewable energy not just to diversify its energy portfolio but also to step further away from going for more nuclear energy. One of the ways to seek more renewable energy is to go for more hydropower, or to be more precise small hydropower.

Japan's Ministry of Environment has put aside 300 million yen in its budget in order to carry out a nationwide survey into the viability of the small hydropower generators. Many of Japan's energy experts believe that small hydro systems can be installed at relatively small cost especially because they take very little surrounding area for installation.

It has been said that small hydropower installations installed on public waterworks are able to provide a more stable power supply than other types of renewable energy such as solar and wind that suffer from issues such as intermittency.

The general idea is to install turbines to benefit from gravity where water flows downwards from reservoirs to purification plants. The Ministry should study the feasibility of approximately 1,500 water utilities to identify locations throughout the country where the new generators could be installed.

The Ministry hopes that by using small hydropower country could reach an output equivalent to the power from one whole thermal power plant.

Small hydro will not only account for more renewable energy usage, it will also help decrease Japan's greenhouse gas emissions.