TOKYO, March 12 (UPI) -- As Japan marked the first anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami that crippled the country's Fukushima nuclear power plant, the governor of Fukushima prefecture called for terminating nuclear power and promoting renewable energy.
"We will call for all nuclear power stations in the prefecture to be shut down so that an accident like this never happens again," Fukushima Gov. Yuhei Sato said Sunday of the worst nuclear crisis since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster in Ukraine.
"Fukushima aims to create a society that enjoys sustainable development by promoting renewable energy and not depending on nuclear power," he said.
Some renewable energy initiatives are under way in Fukushima.
In Minami-Soma, a plan to build a solar power plant in rice paddies is being led by a former executive of Tokyo Electric Power Company, operator of the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant, the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper reports.
Eiju Hangai's company, Fukko Solar, aims to generate 500 kilowatts of electricity and sell it to Tohoku Electric Power Co. and other firms.
Although Hangai left Tepco a year before the Fukushima disaster, he says, "I caused trouble for my home prefecture. I want to transform the … region into a place of renewable energy sources."
Hangai said he expects Fukko Solar to secure $2 million in funding through corporate investments and government subsidies, with operations to begin in spring 2013.
Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry also announced last week a plan for a $154 million floating wind farm off the Fukushima coast, Recharge News reports.
For Phase One of the project, expected to be completed by March 2013, one of Fuji Heavy's Subaru 80/2-megawatt turbines with a four-column, semi-submarine type floater and a 66-kilovolt floating offshore substation will be installed.
During Phase Two, scheduled for 2013-15, two of Mitsubishi Heavy Industry's 7-megawatt turbines with a three-column, semi-submarine type floater will be installed.
The facility, to be 12-25 miles offshore in depths of 328-492 feet, will be built by a consortium that includes Japanese trading house Marubeni, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd., Nippon Steel and Hitachi. The University of Tokyo and Mizuho Information and Research Institute will provide consulting.
The Japanese government has said it wants to install 1 gigawatt of offshore wind power in the Fukushima region.
And Japan's Wind Power Association estimates that Japan has the potential for 519 gigawatts of floating offshore wind capacity.
"The Tokyo area has good potential for offshore. It's easy to get grid connections. The Fukushima nuclear power plants will never operate again so there's a vacant grid line there," says Yoshinori Ueda, assistant general manager at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.