Electricity woes

Shanghai 19th May 2011

Two of the biggest economies in the world, China and Japan, are both facing huge electricity woes, but each for totally different reasons. China is plagued by drought and as a result electricity supply, which for a great part consist of hydro-electricity, is suffering. I do not know the exact figures but at least 20-30% of the electricity supply in China comes from water based electricity production. In Japan it is the direct result of the earthquake, the subsequent tsunami and damage of the nuclear reactors in Fukushima. Here as well it is estimated that the elimination of the nuclear power supply affects about 20-30% of the country’s electricity needs. Interestingly both have been caused by natural disasters.  

With the summer about to start in full force both countries are trying to think out of the box to reduce power usage. Specifically in Japan people suddenly realise that there is no unlimited abundance of energy and everyone is asked to do his bit. As a result there is apparently a rush on the much more energy efficient light sources, energy saving gadgets and so on. Cities are looking at ways to reduce the night time usage of public lighting. The challenge here is to do so without affecting the legally required minimum lighting standards. Therefore I would not be surprised that in the coming time lighting standards will be reviewed and some standards lowered. Though not always said aloud, many of the lighting standards have (in the past?) been driven my commercial motives considering that manufacturers are also part of the councils deciding and putting these standards together. Let’s see…   

In an interesting twist the Japanese came up with the idea to ask business people to rock up at work in T-shirts and sandals this summer rather then the usual business suits and ties so the offices can reduce the need for air-conditioning and so reduce the need for power.     

After the Bund yesterday in Light Watch today the opposite of history, Pudong, the sprawling and dynamic financial centre of Shanghai.  A few decennia ago this was a just some waste land. It is amazing to see how quick the skyline has changed and is still changing. I was here in 1995 for the first time…gee…how it has changed!

Light Watch 92: Pudong skyline, Shanghai

19. May 2011 by Martin Klaasen
Categories: light watch, lighting and the economy, lighting of the future | Leave a comment

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