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6. Bring Out New Possibilities in Hydropower

Japan lacks in energy resources. It relies heavily on imports for such resources.
However, Japan does have a resource at hand that can be used plentifully without relying on imports. It is water.
Japan has about 1,700 millimeters of precipitation per year, twice the world’s average.
A lot of rain falls throughout the year on steep mountains to form many streams and rivers.
Since the Meiji era, Japan has taken advantage of this water flowing all across the archipelago, an authentic Japanese resource, for hydropower.
Hydropower, using the energy of discharged water from dams to drive turbines and generators, provide as much electricity as appropriate to large-scale facilities and has supported Japan’s rapid economic growth.
However, even such large-scale hydropower plants have not made full use of such rich water resources.
For example, from rivers, agricultural waterways, industrial waterways, to maintenance discharges of the existing dams, Japan has a lot of water that just flows away without being used as energy. So does the world.
Mini-hydropower is the key to unlock the potential of water that has so far remained unexploited.
Mini-hydropower, although smaller in scale and generating less electricity than conventional hydropower, can be efficient and reliable to generate enough electricity as appropriate to its region or environment.
It is a method of power generation with a new possibility that can turn the power of wasted water into electric power.
Meidensha will continue to help build the power infrastructure of Japan and the world through its mini-hydropower technology.

Naruko Dam, Miyagi Prefecture (Managed by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism)

– Mini-hydropower using irrigation water

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Electricity is generated by using water that is continuously discharged for irrigation. Now water that was previously unused can be effectively utilized for energy.

- Energy for securities

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The generator room is about 15 meters above the ground. A crane carries the turbine and generator into the room.
Even in case of a disaster, power supply is maintained and dam management remains operational to keep the safety of the facilities and the areas down the valley.

Kanoko Dam, Hokkaido (managed by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism)

- Taking full advantage of the power of water

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The water discharged as city water is used to generate power.This provides environment-friendly enrgy without disturbing the cycle of water flowing into the Sea of Okhotsk.

- Improving efficiency by upgrading equipment after 30 years of operation

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A cross-flow turbine (left photo) has been in service for about 30 years. The turbine has been replaced with a horizontal Francis turbine (right photo). This has increased the annual electricity generation.

Hayatsukigawa Coast Daiichi Power Plant (in Toyama Prefecture)

- Agricultural waterway that produces both crops and electricity

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The plentiful water of the agricultural waterway and a vertical drop of about 22 meters provide energy to generate power.The agricultural waterway produces not only crops but also electric power.

- Generating power for more than 900 households a year

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The generator (left photo) and control panel (right photo). The profits from the sale of the electricity generated are used to maintain equipment such as the watergate and pump.Power is generated efficiently according to the seasonal changes in flow.

Yamagata Power Generation Ltd. Mogamigawa Churyu Minamidate Mini-Hydropower Plant

- An ESCO (Energy Service Company)* aims at a sustainable power supply

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The ESCO upgrades the equipment according to the feed-in tariffs (FITs) scheme for renewable energy.Electricity sales profit is used to maintain the plant and undertake a stable and sustainable power generation.

* ESCO: An energy service company, which uses the electricity sales profit from FITs to cover such things as the construction cost for power equipment upgrades and operator’s profits. An ESCO achieves zero initial investment.

- Water resources that is environment-friendly after having generated electricity

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The plant draws water from a headrace about 6 kilometers long and uses an 86meter drop to generate about 1,370 kilowatts of power.Afterward, the water is used for irrigation and waterway maintenance.


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