Our combined feelings were that Hawaii was ideal for expanding the use of these options--high energy costs, progressive leadership and availability of abundant natural resources--but mystifyingly, we are not doing much about it. A lot of talk, but no meaningful action.
Through the discussion, the following thoughts formed in my mind:
the three remaining nuclear power facilities (54 total--which once provided 25% of the power-- still in operation will shut down), and, unless the local governments relent, the country will suffer this coming summer.
2. Japan is not only limited, they are in real trouble:
a. The Fukushima earthquake/tsunami/nuclear disaster was as game-changing as were Hiroshima, Nagasaki and being on losing side of World War II. The country needs to re-invent itself.
crusade of Masayoshi Son (left) to promote solar, it will be difficult for the renewables to contribute much to their energy balance. Perhaps he can be encouraged to consider the Blue Revolution for the long term future of the country.
c. Further, if solar and wind are priorities for Japan, these intermittent sources can only be accepted up to 20% of the total power. As electricity is one third of all energy utilized, this means that these classical green technologies will only supply at most 10% of their needs. What will they do about the 90%?
d. There is very little hope for electricity from the seas:
1) tidal power (not much)
2) current power (unknown)
3) wavepower (prone to destruction by storms, and, if you well protect it, the economics are ruined), and
4) ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC, any large plantship, say even 100 MW, will be too far away from Kyushu to cable the electricity)
snow covers much of Honshu today. Industrial production will further lag for all this discomfort, spurring greater export of manufacturing.
Japan's future. That is Shimizu's Green Float concept to the right.
There, too, is fusion, but that is 50 years away, at best. The Blue Revolution powered by OTEC can add biofuels, hydrogen, ammonia, seafood, biopharmaceuticals, green chemicals and much more to their economy. Maybe someday energy can be microwaved by bouncing the beam off a satellite. Their lagging shipping industry can be resurrected by building grazing plantships, not only for OTEC, but perhaps too for floating windfarms.
Blue Revolution. They could become the primary partner for the Pacific International Ocean Station of Blue Revolution Hawaii. They could start by identifying the ideal billionaire to help fund this marine equivalent of the International Space Station, which is being abandoned. I suggested to the visiting group that the governments of Japan and the USA are just not progressive enough to undertake this mission. A possible meeting is being considered for April 24 in Tokyo to discuss these prospects.
The Dow Jones Industrials jumped 84 to 12,716, with all world stock markets also up. However, Amazon.com sunk almost 8% on lower earnings. The market went up, though, because good news are expected from Greece. Gold increased $8/toz to $1744, with the WTI oil at $97/barrel and Brent Spot at $112/barrel.