|@Challenge of Kuzumaki Town producing milk, wine, and clean energy
@Mr. Testuo Nakamura, Town Mayor of Kuzumaki
@ Since 1975, Kuzumaki Town (with 9,000 residents, 3,000 households) has implemented a large-scale dairy farming development as part of a national government project. By building a 75km road through a mountain range with several thousand-meter peaks, it has created pastureland covering 1,100ha, divided between 7 private farms and several public ranches. The public ranches have been managed by a joint public- and private-sector organization, the eKuzumaki Public Corporation for Dairy Farming Developmentf (KPC), since 1976. When this organization was founded, I was a staff member of the town office, and was sent there as a manager. For 23 years, until 1999, I worked for its development at various administrative levels. To start with, there were 10 staff members and a maximum of 365 cows (in summer), and the turnover was 20 million yen. Now there are 100 staff members, 3000 cows in summer and 2500 cows in winter. Besides cattle breeding, the business includes hotels, restaurants and treated/processed milk production, and recently turnover reached 1.1 billion yen (60 million yen net profit). It achieved the highest profit among all the 1,150 public ranches in Japan. Three ranches managed by the KPC have now also become producers of clean energy, as I will explain.
@ I have always considered that my guiding principle in administrating Kuzumaki Town should be to make maximum use of the diverse resources, capabilities and individual talents which the town possesses, in order to further the townfs progress while at the same time making a contribution to solving the problems of the 21st century global issues, such as food, environment and energy. By promoting dairying, cattle breeding and agriculture, the town contributes to food production (the daily production of our milk, 111 tons, is equivalent to the necessary daily calorie intake for 37,000 people). The total area of the town is 43,000ha, of which about 90% consists of forests. Facilitating forestry and forest preservation helps increase carbon sinks, and thus makes contribution to the global environmental situation. The town also has developed the clean energy, which will be described in the following section in detail, here too is shouldering its share of the responsibility for the world energy problem. While addressing all these agendas, the town also makes its own progress.
@ In March 1999, with support from the New Energy Foundation (NEF) and the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO), the municipality inaugurated in its eNew Energy Visionf program. Prior to this, the municipality invested 2.5 million yen, a quarter of the total capital, in Eco-World Kuzumaki Wind Power, Ltd., and took a share in its management. In June 1999, three 400kw-windmills were installed in Sodeyama-kogen Ranch (managed by the KPC) at the cost of 340 million yen. They can produce enough electricity enough for 900 households, which is sold to the Tohoku Electric Power. Current annual turnover is 28 million yen, and the town also gets property tax income (20 million yen annually, averaged over 15 years).
@ A survey to check wind conditions was conducted over two years in Kamisodegawa-kogen Ranch (also managed by KPC) by the Electric Power Development Company (EPDC). The result showed that the site was one of the most promising places for wind power generation in Japan. In 2001, the Green Power Kuzumaki Wind-Power Generation, Ltd. was founded with 100% subscription from the EPDC, and a capital of 100 million yen. In 2002, work started on the installation of twelve 1,750kw wind-power generators (maximum height, 93m) at a total construction expense of 4.7 billion yen. Power generation will begin in December 1, 2003, and will provide electricity equivalent to that for 16,000 households. This also will be sold to the Tohoku Electric Power, and is expected to yield about 550 ~ 600 millon yen. The municipality itself has not joined the management, but has supported the project by helping arrange planning permission and facilitating the procedures prior to the construction phase. For this, the EPDC donated 70 million yen to the town. The town will also benefit from the property tax income ? approximately 30 million yen annually, averaged over 15 years.
@ In March 2000, a solar power generator was installed in Kuzumaki Junior High School. This only generates 50kw of electricity, but provides 25% of the schoolfs demand, and also encourages the students to get interested in clean energy.
@ In 2000, with support and advice from NEDO and NEF, a feasibility study for the introduction of bio-mass energy into Kuzumaki was conducted. In 2002, a generation facility was built in Kuzumaki-kogen ranch, where excrement from 200 Holstein cows from the ranch is mixed with kitchen garbage from the residents to produce a calorie level sufficient for methane gas to be produced; electricity is then generated by combustion of this gas. This is expected to become operational in May 2003. The machinery used is German (cost, 250 million yen). The power to be generated is 35kw, and all of it will be consumed inside the ranch. The slurry that is left after extracting the gas will be used as a fertilizer. Moreover, in 2001, a research project, eKuzumaki Cogeneration System by Advanced Bio-Gas Applicationf was initiated as a partnership between industry, academia and administration, with support from the Bio-Oriented Technology Research Advancement Institution. The purposes of this project include development of a high-efficient bio-gas generation system (stable supply of bio-gas), a high-level bio-gas refinement and concentration system (concentration and compressed cylinderization of bio-gas), and a fuel cell for bio-gas. If we succeed in putting the gas in cylinders for sale, we could use the excrement of 650 tons discharged daily from our 13,000 cows as a resource, rather than (as at the moment) a waste product requiring disposal. This will be consistent with our principle mentioned earlier.
@ As a part of our local resources, we have forests. The process of making wooden chips creates, as a byproduct, a vast amount of balks and pieces of wood. There is a factory in the town where these discarded pieces are crushed and heated to make wood-pellet fuel. In Kuzumaki, the local wine is made from wild-grapes. The winery uses a boiler with wood-pellet fuel (250,000kcal/h) for heating. In April 2003, a new Old Peoplefs Home will open. The place will have a floor-heating system and the boiler will use wood-pellets (2 boilers of 500,000cal/h). The power will be provided by a solar-power system (20kw).
@ Another source of clean energy in Kuzumaki is hydropower at the eSeven Waterfallsf area. These waterfalls are illuminated at night by electricity generated by a micro- hydroelectric generator. The town supports a eSchool of Forest and Windf at the site of the former school, and runs a eNatural Energy Schoolf. In 2001, the School made its own windmill and solar-power generator, and in 2002, it conducted a survey on solar-heated water, bio-gas experiments, etc., as a study material for schoolchildren and students, and also for ordinary citizens. The municipality provides instructional visits and an environmental information magazine called eEco-Netf so that people can learn more about clean energy. As mentioned before, the municipality received a donation from EPDC for its contribution to the inauguration of Green Power Kuzumaki Wind-Power Generation. The municipality has used this to create a fund, which provides local residents with subsidies for switching to new energy, and promotes a new energy vision, and an energy conservation vision, with help from NEDO, in order to save energy in the town. Our target is to establish a self-sufficient system for clean energy use, and to play our part in solving the global energy problem.
@All these activities have been publicized through lectures I have given, seminars I have participated in seminars as a panelist, or newspaper articles and TV programs I have featured in. As a result, such a small town like ours, all town corners of which you can cover every corner in a 90-minute drive, has suddenly become the focus of nationwide attention, and we have had an endless streams of visitors. Kuzumaki is 3.5km away from the closest train station, and 60km away from the closest highway interchange. There is no hot spring, no ski resort, and no golf course. Formerly people did not visit such a place. But during the last 5 years, the number of visitors has grown from 200,000, to 250,000, then 300,000, then 370,000, and now 500,000 each year, and mainly they come to see the Kuzumaki-kogen Ranch, winery and clean energy projects as these have become well-known. The more people have come, the more exchange programs have been created. Subsequently at the various facilities, sales have been increased and employment can be expanded. Kuzumaki has become a elively townf, a place worth visiting, indeed a must-see destination. The revitalization of the town is in progress.