I opened a wine bar in the resort town of Karuizawa (^O^)／
Kevin’s Bar is a “one coin” casual standing bar about two minutes walk from the north exit of Karuizawa Station. Glasses of wine and beer are 500 yen, which is one coin in Japanese currency.
Please feel free to stop by anytime. I post regular updates at the Kevin’s Bar page on Facebook.
BTW, Karuizawa is a gorgeous mountain area where John Lennon and Yoko Ono spent their summers together. It’s also where the current emperor of Japan met the empress playing tennis. Tokyo’s rich and famous converge on Karuizawa each year to escape the oppressive summer heat in the worlds largest metropolitan area.
Here is a pic of the front of my bar.
Since Japan began its renewable energy feed-in tariff system so many people and companies have decided to install systems, it’s apparently overwhelming the nation’s ability to report on progress. The boom is also causing up to half year wait times for simple rooftop solar panel installations.
As of November last year, the monthly reports from the government indicated a rapidly accelerating growth in the amount of renewable energy power generation in the nuclear radiation catastrophe torn nation.
Japan’s Ministry of Economics Trade & Industry (METI) is running weeks late with its next critical monthly report. METI normally issues the report mid-month following the close of the prior month. The current report for December of 2012 was to be issued around January 15th, but is now not expected till mid February at the earliest. The monthly report includes the amount of new renewable energy plants applied for, and that have begun power generation.
A ministry employee said, “it’s taking time to confirm all the power plants which have started generating power” regarding the delay.
Japan adopted a feed-in tariff system (FIT), similar to Germany’s extremely successful program. Anyone who builds a renewable energy power generation system is guaranteed to have their electricity purchased by the regional electric monopolies.
As of the last report on progress for the month of November, 2012 Japan was already far ahead of its plan to add 2.5GW of new renewable energy by the end of the fiscal year in March this year. As of November, nearly 4GW of new capacity had been applied for and approved. The rate of increase since the program began in July is also increasing. If the current rate continues, Japan could have over 9GW of new power plants applied for by end of June, marking the first year of the new FIT system.
Japan’s ministry employees are not the only ones being overrun with the terrific growth of renewables. A solar distributor for a major Japanese panel manufacturer told this blogger that a rooftop system currently takes up to six months to install due to the massive backlog.
The Japanese government has begun a series of formal public forums ostensibly to gain consensus on three proposed medium-term energy scenarios. The first two meetings were held last weekend and have led to public outrage over alleged astroturfing propaganda, called yarase (pronounced yah-rah-say if you’re American) in Japanese.
Two forums held in Sendai and Nagoya included high level power industry employees that were supposedly chosen at random from the public to speak out on the energy scenarios in the public forum. The forums are supposed to be fair and represent general public opinion.
At the Sendai forum one of the panel members announced his employer’s outlook on nuclear power – his employer is Tohohoku Electric Power. Another panel member was from a nuclear power association. The revelations lead to understandably extreme outrage from the members of the audience and the discussion had to be cut short.
There’s an elephant in the tatami room – Japan has absolutely zero mandatory building energy efficiency standards. This nation’s buildings consume about 40% of all primary energy, and about 70% of all electric power. Simply improving building efficiency would dramatically change the electric power demand side of the equation in this nuclear catastrophe challenged nation, and yet there is no building code regarding efficient energy usage.
Japan is no stranger to strict building standards, it has some of the worlds toughest quake resistance and fire proofing building code. For some reason the government has never found it necessary to create efficiency requirements by law.
New cheap and efficient micro binary power generation systems from several manufacturers to also use industrial waste heat.
Japanese onsen resorts are hot spring baths which dot the geologically active nation. Japan has over 28,000 onsen hot springs discharging more than 2.75 million liters of hot spring water goodness every minute of every day.
That’s a heck of a lot of energy potential. Unlike solar or wind, this renewable energy source is stable, consistent and can can easily replace nuclear or fossil energy if harnessed properly.
Several Japanese manufacturers are about to ship systems called Micro Binary Generators which allow electricity to be generated from this massive resource without affecting the quality of the treasured onsen baths themselves. As an additional benefit, these systems also generate power from waste heat at factories and other facilities.
The SmartScarecrow Show is a fun weekly live streaming video show and podcast about alternative energy. I was interviewed today regarding thorium myths and renewable energy realities.
Nuclear industry pundits, propagandists, and astroturfers would like you to believe that the health and environmental effects of catastrophes such as Chernobyl are insignificant. Reality is that the health effects are much larger than the industry and its supporters will admit.
The New York Academy of Sciences published a study by renowned scientists that compiles thousands of studies completed mainly in Slavic that the UN’s groups ignored due to politics and a lack of independence from nuclear industry influence. It’s a landmark work that I recommend everyone interested read.
The authors show that to date more than one million deaths have occurred due to the Chernobyl nuclear radiation catastrophe. This is far more than the tiny numbers claimed by the nuclear industry. Further, the other health effects are enormous. Childhood disease, birth defects, and numerous other health effects have devastated vast areas in the Ukraine and Belarus.
The health effects of Chernobyl and, unfortunately, Fukushima will haunt the world for generations to come.
Here is the PDF of the book for your convenience:
Professor Karl Grossman interviewed the consulting editor, Janette D. Sherman-Nevinger regarding the study on his excellent television program. If you are not up to reading the entire study, I do recommend you watch this video: