Research on regional low carbon society development
Summarize Eco-model Cities initiatives
In 2002, we created two databases, one on actions undertaken by Eco-model Cities, and the other on regional global warming countermeasures and their cost effectiveness.
In creating our Eco-Model City Database, we referred to the applications and action plans submitted by the 13 selected cities, and incorporated follow-up results. Graphs are used to make it easier to visualize and compare each city's CO2 emissions in the base year to that of the forecast reductions for 2050. It is also possible to search for Action Plan policies, titles, outlines and CO2 reduction targets; individual project categories, titles, outlines, duration, cost; subsidy programs, organizations, amount and projected amount of CO2 reductions.
The database on Global Warming Countermeasures Initiated by Local Governments provides access to information on related subsidies, by searching for the local government, action category, project title, outline, duration, cost, subsidy program, organization, amount and projected amount of CO2 reductions. CO2 reductions for each region are projected onto a map to make it easy to visualize the results. There are graphs that plot project costs and CO2 reduction amounts to confirm the cost effectiveness of individual projects.
The database also contains basic statistics on local governments. After analyzing regional characteristics, we developed an interface that enables users to conduct searches for projects according to population scale and geographical characteristics, industrial characteristics and types of CO2 emissions.
CO2 reductions and incentives in smart communities
This year we conducted a desk review of macro-environmental factors concerning actions taken by smart communities in Japan and overseas mainly through literature and the internet. We then focused on domestic pilot projects, both in the planning stage and in operation (social experiments), to see how such projects aimed to create a total package of renewable energy, IT and next generation vehicle component technologies to achieve their proposed CO2 target reductions. These studies revealed a number of hidden issues.
As a case study, we selected a pilot project conducted jointly by ITOCHU Corporation and Tsukuba City. Titled 'Green Crossover Project ', solar power generators have been installed at convenience stores and gas stations to charge EVs and support a clean energy car sharing system. In addition to the Tsukuba City social experiment, we also studied the potential of applying carbon credit systems to various other community models and considered the significance of linking such systems with the domestic emissions credit systems employed by smart communities.
Promoting the use of solar energy in regional communities
- Deployment rate of residential solar water heating systems and solar power generation systems
- We organized the deployment rate of solar water heating systems and solar power generation systems according to ownership, building age, and local government. A correlation analysis of the deployment rate in each local government, with the average site area, total floor area, and income of the owner did not reveal any significant results. In recent years, there has been a decline in new construction, with more home owners opting to renovate instead. We believe that it is important to ascertain the preferences of home owners.
- Questionnaire Survey
We intend to conduct the following internet survey to ascertain consumer preferences regarding the installation of solar power generation.
- We intend to carry out a nationwide survey targeted at people who have already installed solar power generation systems in their homes to find out what motivated them to do so, factors that influenced their decision and the payment method chosen.
- We will ask people living in detached houses who have not yet installed solar power generation systems how they feel about time discount rates and their preferences towards solar power generation (initial investment, base unit for electricity sales, warranty period) and conduct conjoint analysis.
Next year, based on the results of this year's survey, we aim to study strategies for promoting solar power generation, taking into account regional characteristics.
Analyzing the investment thresholds of livestock based biomass energy projects
- Calculate the potential availability of livestock derived biomass materials (waste from beef cattle, dairy cattle, pigs, and egg-laying hens) for each local government.
- Create a database of domestic facilities that use livestock-derived biomass fuel. This will involve organizing all available data, including the types and processed amount of biomass material, the biomass technologies involved, and the amounts of generated energy and cost.
Using the above data, we plan to conduct the following analyses from next year onwards.
- Correlate the potential availability of livestock derived biomass materials with the distribution of facilities using biomass energy.
- Correlate the facilities that use livestock derived biomass fuel with the applied type of biomass material and technology, the amount of generated energy and cost.
- Compare the actual results of facilities using biomass fuel with the cost analysis results described in available literature such as the paper Model Development for Evaluating Countermeasures Effects against Livestock Manure Management compiled by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.
- Based on the results of the above analyses, we will examine the investment thresholds and factors involved in deciding whether or not to use livestock based biomass fuel. Our research on domestic facilities using livestock biomass fuel has shown that the majority also use other types of biomass fuel derived from food waste and agricultural waste. Therefore, in considering investment thresholds, we will also conduct sensitivity analyses on facilities that process livestock waste and other forms of biomass material.