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HOME  >  International Grant Program  >  2015  >  Grant Projects: Activities  >  International Workshop and Symposium: Renewable Energies for Community – A view from Japan and Asia (International Grant Program)

Grant Projects: Activities

International Workshop and Symposium: Renewable Energies for Community – A view from Japan and Asia (International Grant Program)

update:October 14, 2015

Photo Woody biomass system in Ashibetsu

From 3rd to 5th October 2015, Toyota Foundation, together with The Akiyama Life Science Foundation, Renewable Energy Organization of Hokkaido, and Hokkaido University, organized workshops, field visits, and a symposium to review the renewable energy (RE) use in local communities, at Hokkaido, Japan.

The purpose of this workshops / symposium was first to review and disseminate the results of the 2014 International Grant Program on the specific theme of “renewable energy use for community”. Second was to exchange knowledge and build a peer networks among Asian practitioners and researchers in this field. Around 40 people, including participants of 2014 IGP granted projects, gathered for closed workshops and field visit from 6 Asian countries (Indonesia, Japan, Korea, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam).

Photo Workshop at former Yubari Elementary school

On 3rd and 4th October the delegation first visited Ashibetsu City and Yubari City, and visited the project sites for woody biomass, snow-coolant/heat exchange system, micro hydropower and exhaust hot spring heat utilizing system. Local government officers including Mr. Konno the mayor of Ashibetsu City, NGOs, and researchers briefed both about the RE systems and how it contributes to aging / shrinking communities in rural Hokkaido.

Then the participants had a workshop in the evening of 3rd October, and each member presented the project in their own country/area. Although the project size or RE types were quite different from project to project, they found a number of common issues and factors to develop RE projects such as utilizing local resources, participation and coordination of community members, and localizing the RE technologies and human resources.

Photo Exhaust hot spring heat utilizing system in Yubari

On 4th October the delegation went back to Sapporo and participated in an open symposium co-organized by 4 organizations listed above, and supported by Hokkaido and Sapporo City governments. There were around 150 citizens including high school students in the symposium, which shows the high interest to this topic in Hokkaido.

After opening remarks from Ms. Toyama of Toyota Foundation and Mr. Yamaya, Vice Governor of Hokkaido government, there were 2 keynote speeches from Prof. Ishihara of Kyoto University and Prof. Yoshida on RE in Southeast Asia and Hokkaido, respectively. Then Prof. Lee of Meijo University gave a report of field trip and workshop in Ashibestu and Yuubari. We also had a panel presentation and discussion moderated by Prof. Matsuura of University of Tokyo, and 4 panelists Prof. Chatchawan Chaichana from Chiang Mai University (Biogass utilization in rural Thailand), Mr. Faisal Rahadian from Asosiasi Hidro Bandung (micro hydro use in Indonesia), Mr. Takahashi from Shimokawa Town (biomass utilization plan), Mr. Suzuki from Hokkaido Green Fund (raising funding from citizen for wind farm).

Photo Keynote speech by Prof. Yoshida, Hokkaido University

Later there were questions raised from the audience, including local high school students’ ones asking why Japan cannot develop their own RE technologies and projects, while other Asian countries are doing it, or what kind of skills they need to work for RE projects. Finally Mr. Akiyama from Akiyama Life Science Foundation gave the closing remarks.

In the morning of 5th October they had the final workshop to develop a checklist of issues and solutions for community RE projects in both developed county and developing country contexts.

Photo Participants from 6 Asian countries

The participants spent only 3 days together, but were able to share information and deeply discuss about common issues in Asia. It was a good example to show the outcome of the International Grant Program which aims to develop a new kind of Asian networks based on mutual learning and empathy. We would like to thank all who supported and participated in this project.
(Ken Aoo, Group for International Grants)

Presentation materials are downloadable from here.

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