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Japan’s biggest utility struggles to restore power after record storm

The Edge Markets International

TOKYO (Sept 11): Japan’s biggest utility is struggling to recover from a record-force typhoon that struck near Tokyo on Monday, estimating it won’t be able to return power to all customers until at least this weekend. Service won’t be fully restored until after Sept 13, Kazuyuki Shiokawa, chief engi...


Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Sep 11, 2019 6:41 pm GMT

Solar power to the rescue:


Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Sep 11, 2019 9:21 pm GMT

Do you know what's happening in this video? What caused the fire? Or was the point just to show that electrical equipment can catch on fire

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Sep 12, 2019 6:50 am GMT

It shows what happens when someone decides to build a solar farm on a reservoir, Matt, in an area where there isn't enough land.

The farm was destroyed by Typhoon Faxai three days ago, and the point was to provide another example of the uselessness of renewable toys when reliable electricity is needed most. Some light was provided by burning solar panels, but they made a lot of smoke too.

"Firefighters said that winds from the typhoon may have caused the panels to have become dislodged and pile up on each other."

Solar flames light Tokyo street

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Sep 12, 2019 1:39 pm GMT

Ah so an instance of a typhoon in Japan causing issues for a plant of a particular energy source means that energy source is now non-viable? Interesting...

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Sep 13, 2019 1:16 am GMT

Given typhoons strike Japan on an annual basis it's certainly proven to be non-viable there, hasn't it?

Here in the U.S., I know you consider an intermittent 2% share of our electricity mix proof of viability. I find that more interesting.

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Sep 12, 2019 5:38 pm GMT

Apologies, I thought you'd get my attempt at irony in reference to Fukushima and the typhoon in Japan that contributed to that, and how the fall out from that should not be considered a reason to abandon nuclear. 

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Sep 12, 2019 9:07 pm GMT

My bad, I didn't know a typhoon in Japan contributed to Fukushima - thought it was just the earthquake and tsunami.

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Sep 13, 2019 11:29 am GMT

Goes to show why I didn't go into meteorology, Bob!

Robert Magyar's picture
Robert Magyar on Sep 17, 2019 12:28 pm GMT

Given it's true historically that typhoons, as well as earthquakes, strike Japan on regular basis, it makes for some very interesting reading as shown in this analysis conducted by researchers at Stanford University in May 2013 which analyzes Japanese nuclear site vulnerability and documents inadequate waterproofing and comparative seawall heights at several Japanese nuclear plants, most notably at Fukushima Daiichi.

"The Fukushima Disaster and Japan's Nuclear Vulnerability in Comparative Perspective May 2013"

At Fukushima Daiichi, the backup power generators critical to maintaining a safe nuclear operating state were essentially at sea level, below historical wave heights with the sea walls at that site lacking waterproofing as documented in the Stanford University report.

See page 5 of the reference report for facts which document the details of the Fukushima Daiichi seawalls in clean comparative bar graph visual.

As for this unfortunate solar farm, it will be quickly cleaned up and quickly rebuilt in the low millions of dollars most likely by insurance dollars and not ratepayer dollars along with a good amount of the solar farm's materials recycled and reprocessed all without any health risks from long term radioactivity or the need to spend billions in clean up for now worthless billions in nuclear generating plant infrastructure.

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Sep 18, 2019 6:55 pm GMT

Robert, Japan's Yamakura Dam Solar Plant was projected to generate 16,170,000,000 watthours of electricity annually when it "sparked to life" last year. Needless to say, expectations weren't fulfilled.

From 1979-2011, Fukushima-Daiichi's 5.3 GW of nuclear capacity generated 1,280,000,000,000,000 watthours of reliable, 24/7 electricity.

Yamakura would have generated 517,400,000,000 watthours of intermittent electricity - 2,470 times less total energy -  had the solar plant lasted 32 years, instead of crumpling into a smoldering heap when the first summer storm rolled in.

Though developers won't say how much money was wasted on this misdirected fiasco, I can hardly blame them.

Robert Magyar's picture
Robert Magyar on Sep 19, 2019 2:49 pm GMT


Whatever amount of watthours generated by Fukushima in the past, it won't compare to the billions of dollars now being spent to clean up the smoldering heap which is Fukushima today. But don't take my word for it, read what Scientific America, hardly a fringe green group publication, is now reporting in this article:

Clearing the Radioactive Rubble Heap That Was Fukushima Daiichi, 7 Years On 

The Japanese government's estimate of the cleanup, $200 billion USD and counting.

The Japan Center for Economic Research, a non-government entity, estimates the clean up at over $400 billion USD and counting.


Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Sep 20, 2019 6:12 am GMT

It does compare, Robert, but you have to be able to use a calculator:

$200,000,000,000 / 1,280,000,000,000 kWh = 15.6¢/kWh.

I'm currently paying 20.5¢/kWh in California's Renewables Paradise, spewing CO2 from natural gas plants after the sun goes down. Nuclear is not only cheaper, but carbon-free - even when the plants blow up. But you have to be able to use a calculator.

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