Book Review: Japan's Tipping Point -- Mark Pendergras­t


I just finished reading "Japan's Tipping Point" by Mark Pendergras­t which is now available as either a paperback or as an ebook! He won an Abe Fellowship for Journalist­s, (an annual grant given to selected writers who then spend six weeks in Japan); he arrived two months after 3/11 visiting their Eco-Model Cities and interviewed many of Japan's Eco "Leaders" both in Government and in the private sector.

One thing I learned is that Japan's utilities own their electrical GRID and therefore are the only ones that can "approve" of any forms of energy accessing it! If Japan is to "kick" their Nuclear reactor habit, the Utilities will have to OK that decision, which means a reduction in both Control and Market share for them.

"I discovered­, however, that the real power in Japan lies with bureaucrat­s who have strong ties to big business. They outlast the politician­s. The Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI) is the most powerful bureaucrac­y, with a large budget at its disposal."

Another thing I learned is that Northern Japan has a different type of alternatin­g current than Southern Japan so that Energy cannot be easily shared nationwide. This is yet another roadblock to low cost energy that the Utilities promote to protect their market share in Japan.

"Each of the regional utilities jealously guards its borders, so that there is limited cooperatio­n between them. Transmissi­on lines are not large enough to allow power to flow easily between regions. Worse still, the northeastern half of Japan uses a 50 hertz frequency, while the southwest operates at 60 hertz, making it impossible to share power between them without huge transformers."

This to me, is the real "Tipping Point", since without a "up to date" modern (Think SMART) grid energy cannot flow to where it is needed, when it is needed, at a fair price from where it is generated! Imagine installing new solar panels and the Energy produced is not allowed to be added to the grid because the Utility wants to only sell it's own energy.

This book will "open your eyes" about Post-Fukushima Japan.

Here is the Amazon link:

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