April 13, 2018
Friends of the Earth Japan
The growth in renewable energy globally is remarkable, and the cumulative installed capacity of both wind and solar have surpassed nuclear, and continue to climb rapidly.
Even within Japan, the Feed-in Tariff (FIT) system has given rise to investment in renewable energy. The terrible accident at the Tokyo Electric Power Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Reactor served as an opportunity to demand a move away from nuclear power, and expectations for renewable energy are high.
Friends of the Earth Japan, from a perspective against nuclear power and for climate change mitigation, and for local distributed systems that citizens can participate in, renewable energy is a critical energy source in our thinking.
On one hand, we have misgivings about uncontrolled development resulting from large-scale solar electricity development in various areas; that biomass electricity feedstocks, wood chips, palm oil, and palm husks are being imported from abroad, potentially causing forest destruction and human rights violations where they are sourced, and domestically, when wood contaminated with radiation is burned, there is potential for radiation to be re-released.
From these perspectives, Friends of the Earth Japan has prepared a statement regarding the sustainability of renewable energy.
1. With large reductions in energy demand as an initial premise, we must optimize the balance of usage of electricity and heating. For this reason, the transformation of societal systems is essential.
2. Regarding the forms of renewable energy, the following directions are desirable:
a.) fuel which is produced and consumed locally;
b.) local residents take a leading role, able to participate in project planning and management;
c.) there is a mechanism for sharing societal and economic benefits with the local area;
d.) small-scale and distributed;
3. During project planning and development, the following must be confirmed:
a.) the conversion of forests, peatland, etc. is not involved. It is not contributing to large scale, serious climate or ecosystem disruption;
b.) it is not putting pressure on resources for food production (incl. agricultural land, water);
c.) it is not violating the rights of residents (to land, water, residence, food, culture, safety, health, etc.) as well as the rights of the workers;
d.) concerning environmental and societal impacts, over its full lifecycle, that surveys, evaluation, prediction and mitigation take place. During the planning stage, people who will be affected must be notified and able to take part in discussions, and arrive at agreement in advance;
e.) through combustion, etc. that it will not contribute to the release radioactive material;
4. Regarding project implementation, it is critical to confirm the following:
a.) environmental management of runoff, noise, pesticides, waste, etc. is carried out appropriately;
b.) information disclosure is carried out appropriately.