There are two sides of the components of the global energy problem: consumption and generation. Our field trips in Japan have illustrated how we might tackle both sides of the issue.
On January 11, 2018, our classes visited the Non-Electric Company. The founder seeks to find alternatives to our everyday comforts that don’t require electricity. His specific target area are third world country citizens who do not have access to such conveniences. One example of his inventions is the non-electric refrigerator. We look to the Non-Electric Company inspiration on to reduce our consumption while keeping our same quality of life.
On January 12, 2018, we visited an incinerator where they burn the waste collected from Tokyo. As an island nation, Japan doesn’t have the space to store garbage so they have to burn it. Trying to efficiently utilize all facets of the process, they sell the energy produced from burning the waste to the power grid. They generate about 19 MW a day.
On January 26, 2018, we visited the Maeda Solar Power Plant where they are looking to utilize clean energy to forgo the risk of radiation from nuclear power. Each solar array produces about 0.05 MW a day.
The disaster of Fukushima as well as other incidents have highlighted dangers of nuclear power that we need to be aware of. Japan has spearheaded the focus to move away from nuclear and towards renewable energy. In Japan as of 2015, approximately 14.5% of energy is renewable and about 30% is nuclear in Japan. To attempt to completely replace nuclear and other nonrenewable energies is a big ask. The sheer scale of energy consumption globally is unsustainable. We must meet in the middle to both reduce our consumption of energy as well as look to renewables to accomplish sustainability for the future generations.