Energy / Climate Change

April 14, 2006


Micro-Hydropower System Lights Up Bridge in Kyoto

Keywords: Local government Non-manufacturing industry Renewable Energy 

In Arashiyama, a scenic area in the historic city of Kyoto, a micro-hydropower system has started supplying electricity to the lampposts on the Togetsukyo Bridge, using energy from water flowing in the Katsura River. The installation started on October 17, 2005, and a lighting ceremony and symposium were held at the Tenryuji Temple on December 8.

The system, equipped with a siphonic propeller turbine and a three-phase induction generator (200 volts, 60 hertz), can generate up to 5.5 kilowatts of electricity (normal output about 4.3 kilowatts), with a head drop of 1.74 meters (typically about 1.34 meters) and at the maximum water volume of 0.55 cubic meters per second. This is the first micro-hydropower system to be installed in one of Japan's major rivers.

As street lighting needs no power during the day, surplus electricity is sold to Kansai Electric Power Co. Under the Grid Connection Guidelines, electricity generated by power systems with an inverter, such as photovoltaic systems, is allowed to be sold to utilities. In the micro-hydropower system in Kyoto, however, the induction generator is directly connected to the grid without an inverter. This is also the first time in Japan that electricity generated by this type of micro-hydropower system is sold to a utility company. The system in Kyoto is expected to add momentum to the promotion of micro-hydropower use in years to come.

Practical applications of micro-hydropower generation are just getting started, with only a small number of units actually operating in Japan. For wider use, enhanced publicity is necessary to encourage the general public, industries, government agencies, and municipalities to recognize the importance of micro-hydropower generation as a way to fight global warming.

- Micro-Hydropower Promotion Council Established (Related JFS article)

Posted: 2006/04/14 10:02:08 PM
Japanese version