On July 8, members from JRE attended a recent nature-themed study tour organized by the community association of Sanze, close to Tsuruoka in Yamagata prefecture. The JRE Tsuruoka-Hachimoriyama Wind Farm is currently under construction in this prefecture.
The tour has been developed as part of the Local Recycling and Coexistence Platform for Regional Revitalization, a nationwide local government scheme coordinated by the Ministry of the Environment. The tour that we attended, which was an invite-only test run prior to the official launch, consisted of a walk through the forest, a wood-chopping exercise and a visit to the local aquaculture center. In the future the tour may also include a visit to one of the turbines at JRE’s wind farm.
To this end, we gave a short presentation to community association members on the history of the wind farm project, the construction process, and how it has been coordinated with local forestry operations. Wind turbine blades were being fitted on the day of the tour, which allowed the attendees a first glimpse of a completed turbine. Everyone admired the panoramic views of Sanze from the site of the wind farm.
The following day a discussion session was organized at the Sanze Community Center as an opportunity to provide community association members with opinions and suggestions for improvement.
The Sanze community association is committed to renewable energy and sustainable use of local forest, river and ocean resources. Local communities are actively encouraged to get involved in decision-making processes, and during our two-day visit we were impressed by their energy and enthusiasm about making a contribution.
JRE is likewise keen for the wind farm to be seen as part of the local community. We will work together to ensure that the facility is a success and that it provides the maximum benefit to the local community.
On June 28, a seven-members from the local government of Kami town in Miyagi prefecture, including Mayor Inomata, was invited to inspect construction of the nearby JRE Miyagi Kamimachi wind farm.
JRE representatives took them to see the work on the foundations of the turbine towers. They were briefed on the construction schedule and progress to date, as well as safety measures undertaken by JRE, such as preliminary ground surveys and strategies to prevent rain damage.
The Miyagi Kamimachi wind farm will be the largest such wind power facility in the prefecture, with ten large wind turbines capable of generating 4,200 kW each. Wind turbines of this size are still relatively rare in Japan.
JRE is committed to maintaining an ongoing dialogue with local communities to provide a better understanding of ongoing and proposed developments, and to ensuring the safety of our operations.
A senior JRE executive took part in the roundtable session held at the conclusion of this year's three-day online Power & Renewables Conference: APAC, an initiative by the leading energy research and consultancy business Wood Mackenzie. The roundtable brought together renewable energy experts from Japan and Australia to talk about the costs associated with the future uptake of renewable energy.
The roundtable agreed that the transition to a world powered largely by renewable energy is now an accepted fact, and that the focus should now shift to ensuring that the investment environment is conducive to the further uptake of storage cells and hydrogen, while at the same time working to keep costs down across the board.
The conference, which attracted over 180 attendees from around the world, including a large contingent from Asia, demonstrated the level of global interest in renewable energy investment.
Japan Renewable Energy had a booth on the theme "Decarbonization Support for Data Centers" at the Data Center & Storage Expo, held between 26 and 28 May at Tokyo Big Sight.
The JRE booth certainly stood out at the expo, which was dominated by IT firms, and as a result there was considerable interest from attendees. These included representatives not just from the data center industry, as might be expected, but also from the electrical manufacturing, construction, real estate, local government, media and consulting sectors. It was a wonderful opportunity to speak with people from a range of fields about the data center industry and moves towards decarbonization.
Data centers are avid consumers of power, accounting for several per cent of the total domestic electricity consumption in Japan. We hope our contribution to decarbonization of data centers is closely tied to JRE's core mission of “Changing the World with Renewable Energy.”
JRE co-sponsored a snowboarding day trip for 10 youths organized by the non-profit organization Chill Japan. Two JRE members participated as volunteer helpers to provide assistance during the trip and the snowboarding lessons, which took place in Gunma Prefecture. Various measures were taken to prevent COVID-19 infection during the event, such as having all participants, including staff members, undergo antigen testing.
The youthful participants enjoyed the snowboarding experience, while the 10 volunteer helpers, including the two from JRE, enjoyed interacting with the young people. The youngsters tried out snowboarding with great enthusiasm and comradery.
Nine of the 10 youths were 6th to 11th graders living in the same children’s home. They seemed to be enjoying the trip from the start. For example, on the early-morning bus ride to the venue, they engaged actively in conversations with volunteer members, who they were meeting for the first time. One of the volunteers had come from far-way Iwate. He said the event is something he looks forward to every year.
For their next initiatives, Chill Japan and JRE are planning such activities as environmental learning opportunities for young people and discussion events focused on environmental protection, social contribution and other topics. JRE will continue to support the educational and athletic activities of younger generations with the aim of creating a more sustainable society where all youths can dream and hope.
* Chill Foundation is a non-profit organization established in the US in 1995 by the founders of Burton Snowboards. The foundation provides snowboarding experience to disadvantaged youths with the hope that they will gain the resiliency to overcome their current circumstances through boardsports. The foundation has been active in Japan since 2003 as Chill Japan.