Visit to Plant

Prompt Action Taken After 'Blackout' at Solar Plants in Hokkaido

Grid connection restored within 1 week after intensity upper 6 earthquake

2020/01/19 17:03
Kenji Kaneko, Nikkei BP Intelligence Group, CleanTech Labo
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Operating 12 sites in Hokkaido

The "Hokkaido Eastern Iburi Earthquake," with a maximum seismic intensity of 7, which struck Hokkaido in September 2018, killed over 40 people and destroyed or partially damaged more than 10,000 houses. Although aftershocks followed for a while, conditions have almost returned to normal for local people one and a half years after the main earthquake.

The Iburi region, which was the epicenter of the quake, is located in southern Do-o and adjoins Muroran City to the west, Tomakomai City in the middle and Atsumacho, Abiracho and Mukawacho to the east.

Atsumacho, Abiracho and Mukawacho registered upper 6 to 7 on the Japanese seismic scale of 7 and suffered serious damage with many houses collapsing. It only feels like yesterday when two of the three power generators at Hokkaido Electric Power Co Inc's (HEPCO's) Tomato Atsuma Thermal Power Plant stopped due to damage from the widespread landslides in Atsumacho and caused Japan's first "blackout" in which all power grids in the area stopped power transmission.

Two of the mega- (large-scale) solar power plants run by the Ichigo Inc Group were operating in the area around the epicenter. They were "Ichigo Abira Toasa ECO Power Plant" and "Ichigo Muroran Hacchodaira ECO Power Plant" with an output of 1.16 MW and 1.24MW, respectively (Fig. 1 & 2).

Fig. 1: Ichigo Abira Toasa ECO Power Plant (source: IGII)

Fig. 2: Ichigo Muroran Hacchodaira ECO Power Plant (source: IGII)

The Ichigo Group is currently operating mega-solar plants with a total output of about 135MW at 44 locations across Japan. Of the 44 sites, 12 with a total output of 13.51MW are operating in Hokkaido, accounting for slightly less than 30% on a site number basis and about 10% on a capacity basis. In other words, the group is operating a relatively high number of power plants in Hokkaido.