From CLIMATE CROCKS
Hundreds of thousands of Americans were left without power for days after a violent storm front moved through from the Midwest to the Mid-Atlantic last week. But what if — in the case of a blackout — you could just use your car to power your home?
It might sound futuristic, but in Japan it is already happening.
In Ginza, a posh shopping district in the heart of Tokyo — customers looking to buy a car can do something they can’t do anywhere else in the world — walk into a Nissan dealer and buy an all electric Leaf that will integrate into their home’s energy supply. Simply put, the car powers the home and the home powers the car.
“If there is a power disruption, you can keep things running,” Ken Screbnik, vice president for strategic planning and business development for Nissan told ABC News. “Depending on the size of the home, the power from your car can be used to power your home for about two days.”–
The vehicle-to-grid system is all part of a vision for a smarter energy system for Japan following last year’s tsunami- and earthquake-triggered nuclear disaster.
“Japan has really been on a fast curve because of the events of March 11 , with the tsunami and the earthquake, when there was devastation, there was no way to get gas to gas stations and really there was a whole different look at electric vehicles, how they were able to work, and also having that comfort of this backup energy storage system in your home,” Screbnik said. “We were able to work with the government to provide subsides and really shape a business out of a tragic event.”
Moving to a Smarter Grid
Since the earthquake and tsunami hit, the Japanese government made concerted efforts to ensure a stable power supply.
There were 50 Smart Cities proposed, promising to offer cleaner energy integration, and the ability for the smart cities to maintain their own energy supplies in the case another large earthquake knocks the power offline.
At Kashiwa-no-ha, one of the smart grid cities on the outskirts of Tokyo, construction began before the tsunami and nuclear disaster, and is scheduled to be completed in 2014. The 26,000 people who will be living in the city will have access to smart grid features, including the ability to monitor and control their energy supply with mobile applications.
“The smart features allow you to conserve 40 percent of energy, Ai Kanda Communications Officer for Kashi-no-ha told ABC News. “It’s one of the most innovative smart grid projects in the world.”
It’s just one more thing that climate deniers deny – that turning to a renewable smart grid will improve our lives, allow us to be more secure, improve national security, and increase our resilience in the face of natural disasters like the east coast is living thru this week.