Departmental Bulletin Paper 日本の市民共同発電所-市民の関わりと地域活性化への取組み-
Community-Based Power Plants in Japan:Citizen Participation and Community Revitalization

査, 蕾  ,  竹歳, 一紀

Description
This paper focuses on community-based power plants in Japan, and analyzes ways of citizen participation and schemes for revitalizing communities with these kinds of energy projects. Community-based power plants (CBPPs) utilize natural energy resources, such as solar, wind and hydro power, which are underused in communities. CBPPs are expected to not only be alternative energy resources but also effective triggers for community revitalization. For these purposes, CBPPs have been spreading in Japan, especially after the Fukushima nuclear accident in 2011. Citizens can participate in CBPPs by donating or investing money. Some people are also engaged in management and maintenance of CBPPs. Profits from selling electricity generated by CBPPs are shared by the investors, who are in most cases local residents. For some CBPPs, the profits are paid back as "community money," which can be circulated in these communities. In these ways, CBPPs can generate profits from natural resources and circulate the profits in local communities. In this paper, we investigate three CBPPs, one located in Tsuru City in Yamanashi Prefecture, and the other two in Yasu City and Hikone City, Shiga Prefecture. In Tsuru City, the city government issues public bonds, limiting the holders to city residents. In Yasu City, a kind of "community money" is used to collect money to build the CBPP, and it also contributes to increasing the sales of local shops. In Hikone City, residents who are interested in the CBPP have formed a group to invest in the CBPP. Based on several cases of CBPPs, including those described in our study, we can conclude that a moderate-sized project, proper methods of raising money, and positive support from local government are necessary in order for CBPPs to trigger community revitalization. More importantly, local people themselves should ensure that a proper CBPP scheme is developed in their community through participation and discussion.
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