Japan's Government Eyes Fukushima as Hydrogen Production Center

  • Plan would use electricity generated from renewables
  • Private, public partnerships encouraged for clean energy

Japan plans to turn Fukushima, the prefecture that suffered a massive earthquake and tsunami five years ago, into a major site for the production of hydrogen using power generated from renewable sources by the time of the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

“We want to make Fukushima a major production site for hydrogen energy for nationwide supply and a pioneer in the hydrogen society,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said after he visited the prefecture on March 5.

The effort is part of a plan the government will kick off this month to promote clean energy in the prefecture through public- and private-sector partnerships, Tetsushi Yoshikawa, who is in charge of the program at the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, said at a news conference on Tuesday.

The government will draw up plans and a road map in the coming months, according to Yoshikawa. The initiative will also look at how to expand grid capacity for wind power and support the construction of smart communities, he said.

The government plans to set up equipment to use electricity generated from renewables to produce hydrogen.

“Japanese government support for power-to-gas technology would mark a critical positive step towards its vision for a hydrogen society,” Ali Izadi-Najafabadi, an analyst for Bloomberg New Energy Finance said by e-mail.