Below we get a glimpse into our future – one where we have less energy to use.
Tokyo was once one of the brightest cities in the world; now it’s a much darker place. This is the new reset for Japan – they will be like this for the long term. It appears that they will swear off nuclear, meaning that they will never recover that lost capacity. They could use coal or other fossil fuels – which they don’t possess, so they will have to import. This would be very expensive. Hyrdo cannot supply all their wants. There are also renewables, which while great, will never ever supply anything like the amount of energy they were used to. Thus the cul-de-sac of their energy future: their only choice will be to use a lot less.
A tsunami forced this on them; peak oil and a destabilized environment will force it on us.
Here’s a commentary from one who recently visited: “I arrived in Tokyo several days ago, and was immediately struck by both the mood and the changes visible in the city itself. The hotels are nearly empty, elevators are turned off, and lighting everywhere is dimmer. Quite literally, Tokyo’s sparkle has been muted in an effort to conserve energy.”
The new energy future is changing the business culture in Japan too -from Businessweek: “….after Tokyo Electric Power asked companies to set thermostats to 28C (82F) and reduce power use by 15 percent. The government’s existing ‘Super Cool Biz’ campaign, intended to reduce the need for office air conditioning by easing Japan’s more formal office dress codes, is also pushing up sales of Uniqlo clothing that wicks away sweat.”
“…..the prospect of a long, hot summer without air conditioning that worries many Japanese. ‘Our office will be like a steam sauna this summer,’ says Yasuo Kawada, a 59-year-old employee at a Tokyo-based office equipment maker. ‘We can’t open windows. Coping will be tough.’
This last is an admission of the end of so-called “modern” architecture. Our low energy future will require that we build with nature, not to gratify the egos of developers and architects. But there will be business opportunities in rehabing buildings and using others as salvage yards.
Below just for comparison