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Power returning to Hokkaido, but quake exposes flaws of grid

19 Comments
By Osamu Tsukimori and Aaron Sheldrick

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19 Comments
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Folks, this is BS, the flaws in the grid were fully exposed during the Tohoku earthquake 7 years ago.

Eastern and western Japan run different currents and there were tests done ALL over the country to identify problem areas, including Hokkaido.

Asked if there were lessons from 2011 that could have been applied to help mitigate the current situation, the spokesman said the utility had conducted drills for scenarios including the shutdown of all three units at Tomato-Atsuma but did not provide details."It is difficult to answer this question because the 2011 quake and yesterday's quake are different situations," he said.

He is a bold faced liar looking to cover his arse and the utility! They KNEW. It's down right ignorant to imagine otherwise.

Hokkaido Electric Power had restored power to a little more than half of the island's 2.95 million households by Friday afternoon after receiving supplies from nearby Honshu and rebooting some of its generating units.

Western Japan could have assisted with eastern Japan in supplying electricity after Tohoku, but due to the entrenched archaic network/grid and refusal to upgrade and simplify things the consumer suffers.

Same here, Western Japan COULD supply electricity to Easter Japan, including Hokkaido, IF the grids were on the same current!

All bs again, until the NEXT earthquake!

7 ( +8 / -1 )

That picture reminds me Tomakomai JR Station I stayed one night when I visited southern part of Hokkaido in Golden Week. That's very sad to see places that was found from this earthquake damaged the touristic places I visited. Hope all Japan be safe, many natural disasters occurred in this decade, every year somewhere. May this beloved country be blessed...

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Yubaru: "Folks, this is BS, the flaws in the grid were fully exposed during the Tohoku earthquake 7 years ago. "

You beat me to it. The fact that Japan has no national grid is disgraceful, and a poignant reminder of all the infighting among different companies of one nation. Nothing changed after Tohoku, clearly. Hell, even the "different" companies with the SAME parent company won't help you out in a disaster! JR West won't help you when JR East has been "forced" to close due to the typhoon, for example. I'm guessing that the government and Hokkaido are going to "look into this problem" and figure out ways to better do Nothing at all and just hope Lightning doesn't strike the same place twice.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

I assume what you are referring to by "different currents" is the 50Hz 60Hz systems within your different power grids, This does pose a real issue to grid ties since one can not parallel A/C generators unless they are the same frequency.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

The basic misunderstanding of frequency vs. current is the problem with the discussion so far. For Japan to have a unified grid one half of the generation - east or west - would have to replace the generators. That is massively expensive and would have taken more time than we've had between earthquakes. There is something to be said for distributed gas turbine generation but getting that up and running would also be expensive and take time. Unless the government was going to fund the project no utility could afford to make the sudden change. Power plants have long lives and utilities can't afford to over invest in capacity. It's not that simple as "gee, we ran tests and we have to change a few things." It wouldn't happen anywhere.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

As others noted - the woefully inadequate network is a direct result of monopolies in the closet with govt and colluding on plans to share the spoils. You take that one, He'll take that one and I'll have this one. Downright Daimyo-esque.

And of course it would take trillions to "re-do" the system - which they haven't got - because they never thought the dream(run) would end. Just keep on keeping on.

Once again it's the ordinary citizens of Japan that suffer.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Solar power. No nuclear or oil

1 ( +2 / -1 )

And geo thermal.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I assume what you are referring to by "different currents" is the 50Hz 60Hz systems within your different power grids, This does pose a real issue to grid ties since one can not parallel A/C generators unless they are the same frequency.

Yes, and it stems from purchasing German generators for the 50Hz and American for the 60Hz.

America SHOULD have forced these utilities to change to one or the other during the occupation after the war but that is a discussion for academics and not today.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The basic misunderstanding of frequency vs. current is the problem with the discussion so far. For Japan to have a unified grid one half of the generation - east or west - would have to replace the generators. 

Who made any comments or where is there any "misunderstanding?"

Right, and instead of building bridges to nowhere, funding useless studies about giving people time off, putting money into "stimulus" packages that feed directly into corporate profits, THIS could have been a major "thumbs up" for the Abe cabinet if they had done it.

But no, it only gets talked about after another disaster!

That is massively expensive and would have taken more time than we've had between earthquakes. 

All maybe, some, in 7 years, yeah it could have been done, IF it were a priority, but it's not.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The island-wide power outage would not have happened if the nuclear power plant had been in operation. Now I’d like to know what self-serving and innate excuses anti nuke activists have for this.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

The blackout that hit Hokkaido after early Thursday's quake was the nation's worst in seven years

The blackout was mostly due to the power companies turning off power after the quake. This was already reported!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Plans for geothermal power plants are usually blocked by the National Parks Authority, who always fear that tourism and the environment will be destroyed. A trip to New Zealand will quickly disprove that, their plants are well integrated into the local environment and hard to see.

There are 4 places where power can be converted between the 50 and 60 Hz supplies of Eastern and Western Japan, but capacity is extremely limited, at 1.2 Giga watts, out of a total Japan grid of around 300 Gigawatt!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@Yubaru and Strangerland. In March of this Hokkaido Electric (Hokuden) ended a contract with a smaller company that provided back-up energy resources. The reason was Hokkaido will never need any back-up as there will never be a natural disaster large enough to warrant the cost. This information comes from a person who worked for that company. This energy shortage could have been prevented.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

If the flaws are now evident, it should be a priority to remedy them. Nah too expensive. Won't happen again.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@Yubaru and Strangerland

???

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I wrote the same thing on the hospital story yesterday, but it is shameful for the whole island to lose power from such a localized disaster. Japan has made a point of protecting dairy farmers in trade deals, but without refrigeration they cannot survive. Anyone making cheese will have had to throw a whole load in the bin.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Strangerland. Sorry! That should have addressed to SmithinJapan. My apologies.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Authorities and power companies of Japan have learned nothing from lesson of Fukushima disaster.

They completely forget risk that depend on one large power station,caused extensive blackout,and now,repeat excuse that "This situation was unpredictable" "out of prediction".

it is like 2011.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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