In the wake of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster, there has been a call for the country to move away from atomic power and towards the mainstream use of alternative energy. While a recent report stated that Japan would be best to harness wind power, Softbank, a Japanese telecom firm, has announced that it will invest in the construction of ten solar-power plants.
The scheme is the brainchild of Softbank CEO and president Masayoshi Son, who is also the richest man in Japan. Son has always been a critic of atomic power and favored a move towards renewables such as solar, wind and geothermal.
With the recent earthquakes and tsunami devastating the eastern coast of Japan, Softbank is planning an “Eastern Japan Solar Belt” that would help revitalize the region. The project is expected to cost about eight billion yen ($97 million), with Softbank contributing 10% of the costs. The rest will be provided by local authorities.
At a joint new conference, Son said he would work with local officials to launch a “Natural Energy Council” in early July to promote natural energy power generation.
“We want to set up the council, considering how we can create initial momentum toward expanding natural energy power generation in a concrete and swift manner,” Son said. “I believe we can make a significant achievement by combining various kinds of natural energy sources appropriately in each region,” Son said.
Softbank, the sole supplier of Apple products in Japan, has previous experience with solar power having used photovoltaic panels, produced by Sharp Corp., to power mobile phones.
The Fukushima disaster has split the country in terms of nuclear power usage. The tsnumai caused the power plant to leak radiation into the air, soil and sea. As a result, Prime Minister Naoto Kan has scrapped a national energy policy plan under which nuclear reactors would meet half of Japan’s energy needs by 2030. Instead he is is set to outline a “Sunrise Plan” to install solar panels on all suitable buildings and homes in Japan by 2030.
Lead photo © Robert Dalton