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Japan: Miyakojima island goes 'smart' with solar, wind power

Source:  Copyright 2012, Asahi Shimbun
Date:  January 22, 2012
Original URL: Status ONLINE

Staying in an "eco-house," a home built by the city to let the wind pass through and block the sunlight so that its inhabitants can go without air conditioning, offers an introduction to the energy conservation commitment in Miyakojima, an island 300 kilometers southwest of Okinawa's main island.

Even though it had rained, the temperature was still 25 degrees and humidity 91 percent after it stopped. And although it was winter, the home still felt strangely refreshing and comfortable inside.

It's all part of an expansive experiment under way on Miyakojima where the entire population of the coral reef-surrounded isle, numbering 55,000 people, is creating a "smart community."

Renewable energy generated by solar and wind power already accounts for up to 30 percent of the island's electricity. The community is now tasking itself with cutting carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 70 percent.

A blanket of solar panels cuts through the vast ...

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