– Japanese urged to wrap up warm and eat soup to save energy (Telegraph, Nov. 01, 2011):
The people of Japan are being urged to pull on their woolly clothes and stock up on vegetable soup this winter in order to limit demand on the nation’s over-stretched power plants.
The government has launched a nationwide “Warm Biz” campaign, calling on the public to resist the temptation to turn the heating up as temperatures fall.
The indications are that this winter may be a particularly cold one in Japan, with the season’s first snowfall in the northern prefecture of Hokkaido recorded on October 2, some 20 days earlier than usual and the earliest since 1898.
The Environment Ministry is encouraging people to limit their use of air conditioners and heaters by setting room temperatures at offices and in homes no higher than 20 degrees Centigrade (68F).
Officials are also suggesting that people wear more layers of clothing and eat food that will be both filling and warming, such as meals containing root vegetables.
The campaign comes on the heels of the government’s “Cool Biz” effort, which was instituted in the summer of 2005 and encouraged office workers to replace their stiff suits and ties with loose shirts and more casual outfits.
The drive took on added importance after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that knocked out the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant in north-east Japan.
As well as losing the energy that the plant produced, operators of the more than 60 reactors that have so far been constructed implemented emergency re-examinations of their designs and safety features. Many of the reactors remain off-line.
Kansai Electric Power Co. announced on Monday that it expects to face a shortfall of 2.53 million kilowatts in February, when demand for winter heating peaks. Seven of the company’s 11 reactors are presently halted, with the remaining four scheduled to undergo tests by the end of February.
Japan’s other major utilities, including Tokyo Electric Power Co, the operator of the Fukushima plant, say they have secured sufficient capacity to meet demand in January and February, although there are concerns about higher than anticipated demand and the possibility of another accident.
As well as calling on the public to reduce energy consumption until the end of the campaign, on March 31, the government has also requested the assistance of companies, factories, hospitals and ministries to use less power.