Japanese Wind Turbines Offer Both Hope and Fear
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Ever since the 2011 earthquake that devastated the Fukushima nuclear reactor in central Japan, the country's nuclear power capacity has been reduced significantly. The Japanese government is looking at other sources of energy in hopes of abandoning nuclear altogether. According to the New York Times, one potential source is wind. The Timessays Japan has enough wind offshore to power their entire country, and then some. Some estimates suggest that they could produce up to eight times more power than they need under normal circumstances. Moreover, as a renewable power source, the wind could produce that energy without creating a huge carbon footprint. Unfortunately, it is not as simple or easy as that. In order to replace just one nuclear reactor, Japan would have to build 140 offshore wind turbines. Yet they do not have enough shallow water in which to build traditional turbines anchored to the sea floor. One solution is to design and build wind turbines that would float the same way oilrigs do. The floating turbines would allow Japan to place them virtually anywhere they wanted. If initial tests of three floating turbines are successful, it is likely the government will go ahead with plans to build more. How many they build remains to be seen however, with 50 nuclear reactors to replace, you are talking nearly 7,000 turbines scattered throughout Japanese waters. It is a great source of renewable energy, but one that could have a negative impact as well.