The Japanese capital Tokyo will join other regions of Japan to share rolling power cuts. Each region will be cut off from power for 3 hours a day on a rotating schedule, with a different time every day. I probably will be offline in about half an hour, which means no computer usage, no Internet access, no Skype calls, no landline phone calls (I have an Internet phone line), no mobile calls inside the house (I have an internet femto cell base station), no flushing of toilets (too high tech), no shopping (cash registers), no refuelling (electric gas pumps).
The good news I’ll have time reading on good old paper.
Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco), the operator of the fatally injured nuclear power stations, until recently ran a campaign (“oru denka”) to get consumers to switch to only electricity. That means using it for hot water preparation, domestic heating, cooking, everything – not a gas pipe in the house. Not only was this totally un-ecological as about 60-70% of energy is lost when making electricity from heat sources like gas or oil (you burn three times more gas to cook electrically if the electric power is made from gas rather than using a gas cooker), it also meant laying all eggs in one basket. These super consumers of electric power now also put their load on a supply system over-strained by knocked out generating capacity.
Hopefully I will be online again in four hours. The power cuts may continue until next month, Tepco announced, but the real challenge will be the coming summer, when Japanese consumers usually turn on their air conditioners. With at least half of Tepco’s nuclear generating capacity knocked out the outlook is grim.
If only Japan had invested in Wind power and other renewable energy instead of 55 nuclear power stations, a fast breeder reactor and a plutonium recycling plant that alone cost $25 billion, which now have a questionable future.