Visit to Plant

Solar Power Plant Designed for Coastal Industrial Zone

Waste treatment site being cleaned-up turns into educational base for reusable energy

2013/10/22 19:04
Shinichi Kato, Nikkei BP CleanTech Institute
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Ukishima, Kawasaki City, is an area of reclaimed coastal land in a corner of the Keihin Industrial Zone. It is an industrial complex that has long supported Japan’s economic growth, where numerous mainstay plants of many industries are still operating. With typical industrial plant views such as masses of iron and crowded pipes and chimneys seen everywhere, it has recently become well known as a photogenic spot for so-called “plant nerds” who love the views of industrial plants. Ukishima is also said to be an essential spot for night-view industrial plant cruises on houseboats.

Ukishima Solar Power Plant is located in the heavy chemical industry complex, a district where a substantial plot of land needed for large-scale solar power plant construction is not usually likely to exist (Fig. 1). It was constructed with the aim of effectively using an area of land that underwent a 20-year cleanup period after being used as a general waste treatment site. It started operation in August 2011 and can be referred to as Japan’s first plant that is in the 7MW class (maximum output).

Joint project by Kawasaki City and TEPCO

Ukishima Solar Power Plant was constructed as a joint project by Kawasaki City Government and Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), along with the Kawasaki City’s PR/educational facility “Kawasaki Eco Kurashi-mirai-kan Museum.” Kawasaki Eco Kurashi-mirai-kan Museum features exhibits to study solar power generation and an observatory that provides a panoramic view of the adjoining solar power plant.

Why did the joint project incorporate such a PR facility? According to Kawasaki City, it is because the project also put weight on the execution, penetration, promotion and education of global environmentally conscious measures such as the introduction of renewable energies including solar power plants. This could be described as a typical approach by industrial cities where the amount of power consumption and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions tend to be high. As well as Ukishima Solar Power Plant and the PR/educational facility, the joint project includes Ohgishima Solar Power Plant, which is also built on reclaimed land.

Based on the above factors, the location of Ukishima is considered favorable. It is highly accessible via public transport from metropolitan areas, which makes it easy for a lot of visitors to come. Its position facing Haneda Airport across a stretch of water is also convenient because the solar power plant can be viewed from the airport and the planes about to land there.

At Ukishima Solar Power Plant, Kawasaki City leases the land and TEPCO owns the power generation facilities. TEPCO is responsible for the EPC business, which provides all engineering, procurement and construction needed, as well as its operation and maintenance. Operations started in August 2011, with all the generated electricity systematically interconnected to TEPCO’s power grid and used for its power services.

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