x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Large-scale expansion of renewable energy to go micro

As Japan examines alternative options to nuclear the country's massive micro-electronics industry is to join the push for renewable energy.

RAS AL KHAIMAH // Japan will soon use its formidable expertise in microelectronics and semiconductor technology to a push renewable energy to the forefront of the country's energy agenda as it moves away from nuclear power.

The Pacific Rim country has been criticised for lagging behind Europe and even China in the large-scale installation of electrical

generating capacity powered by renewable energy. But after a massive earthquake and tsunami last month triggered the world's worst nuclear crisis in 25 years, Japan is re-evaluating its energy policy.

"Japan may soon try to reduce its nuclear power," said Dr Takahashi Mihara, the director general of the country's Micro-electro-

mechanical systems (Mems) Industry Forum. "But we are also concerned about the environment. We do not want to use fossil fuel for power; not even gas."

Dr Mihara was visiting Ras al Khaimah as part of a four-member Japanese delegation attending the 17th World Micromachine Summit,

which this year focuses on applications in renewable power.

He said Japan would need to invest heavily in renewable energy if it hoped to reduce the country's reliance on nuclear and thermal power generation.

A concerted renewables initiative would take five to ten years to deploy and would involve parallel undertakings to upgrade the

country's power grid with the "smart technology" needed for handling the unpredictable output from wind and solar farms.

Professor Isao Shomoyama, the head of the delegation and director of the Robot Technology Research Initiative of the University of Tokyo, said Japan was also interested in developing large-scale geothermal power.

Despite its location on the Pacific "ring of fire", renowned for its volcanoes and hot springs, Japan only has three small geothermal power projects, he said.