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Towns In Japan Are Going Off Grid In Transition To Green Energy

By Tessa Love

The 2011 tsunami and earthquake that devastated Japan might have a small silver lining after all: In the wake of the disaster, which was made worse by the Fukushima nuclear power meltdown, the country began rethinking its approach to power on a larger scale. And in a massive overhaul, the country has been slowly but surely revolutionizing their energy infrastructure to go off the grid for good.

In the six years since Fukushima, dozens of Japanese towns have decentralized their power generation and storage systems, choosing instead to build independent micro-grids, which make the towns self-reliant and capable of powering themselves for days without the help of the larger grid. These micro-grids are often supported by the country’s National Resilience Program, which had $33.32 billion in funding this year.

“At the time of the Great East Japan earthquake, we couldn’t secure power and had to go through incredible hardships,” Yusuke Atsumi, a manager at HOPE, the utility organization created to manage one town's generation and grid, told Reuters. Under a large-scale power system, he said, a “blackout at one area would lead to wide-scale power outages. But the independent distributed micro-grid can sustain power even if the surrounding area is having a blackout.”