Why Japan has two separate electricity systems

Japan is the only country in the world with two separate electricity systems, which meant that during the Fukushima nuclear disaster, surplu...

Japan is the only country in the world with two separate electricity systems, which meant that during the Fukushima nuclear disaster, surplus power from Osaka couldn't be transferred to Tokyo, causing blackouts. Here is why there are two systems in the first place.

By Karn G. Bulsuk

Map showing which part of Japan uses 50/60 hertz (click to enlarge and download)
Download map showing electricity partition: svg format | png format
With the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plants wiping out 40% of electricity generating capacity in eastern Japan, even proud cities such as Tokyo have suffered rolling blackouts and are plunged into darkness after nightfall. But isn't the solution a simple rerouting of energy from the east of Japan to the west?

Unfortunately it's not that simple. While the entire country uses 100 volts, the electric current in Eastern Japan (including Tokyo, Yokohama, Hokkaido and Tohoku) uses 50 Hertz, while the West (including Osaka, Kyoto, Nagoya, Kyushu and Hiroshima) uses 60 Hertz.

I asked the question to J-POWER when I visited them, and was told that the origins of difference in hertz stretches back over a hundred years back to the late 1800s, which stemmed from the traditional rivalry between Osaka and Tokyo. While Tokyo obtained their first electricity generation equipment from AEG of Germany, Osaka not wanting to have to follow their rivals in the East, decided to purchase from General Electric. German equipment generated at 50 hertz while American equipment output 60 hertz.

Although there are transformer facilities linking the two areas, it has a maximum capacity of only 1 gigawatt - a far cry from the 60 gigawatts that east Japan can normally generate.

While back then it was a matter of regional pride, now West Japan can only look on as Eastern Japan turns off the lights everyday.

Map source: http://english.freemap.jp/

Comments

Name

5-why,8,advertising,8,amazon,4,analysis,14,anime,4,apple,1,aria,1,articles,15,asian business culture,7,Australia,6,bangkok,23,blackberry,6,business,11,case study,4,china,3,coaching,3,commentary,10,communication,2,consulting,2,corruption,1,cost cutting,1,creative commons,2,crisis,1,CSR,2,culture,7,customer service,4,deming,1,disruptive,2,download,12,editorial,47,education,2,entrepreneurship,8,environment,2,ethics,2,expatriate,2,fishbone diagram,2,food,2,genchi genbutsu,2,generation y,2,hansei,1,harvard business review,2,hong kong,7,Horenso,5,information,1,innovation,9,interesting clips,6,internet,2,iphone,3,IT Audit,1,japan,15,kaizen,28,KPS Video Express,3,laos,4,leadership,1,lean,5,live in bangkok like a local,4,management,9,marketing,30,Melbourne,6,mieruka,11,movie,1,new year,5,obituary,2,opinion,35,opportunity,8,PDCA,9,personal reflections,5,photo essay,1,photography,15,poster,1,project management,1,proposal,1,published,5,quality control,4,quotes,7,research,1,review,4,sales,2,saving money,1,segmentation,1,self reflection,1,shared,1,singapore,2,social media,1,software piracy,2,standard chartered,1,status,1,teaching,1,technology,19,telecoms,8,thai floods,12,thailand,27,the hong kong I remember,3,The Toyota Way,39,thought leadership,3,threat,1,toyota,8,toyota production system,39,travel,11,venice,1,Virtual Tour,1,Visuals,13,wallchart,1,wikicommons,1,Wikipedia,2,working,1,zarticles,10,
ltr
item
Karn Bulsuk: Full Speed Ahead: Why Japan has two separate electricity systems
Why Japan has two separate electricity systems
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-dtg2wxyHnZY/TaAT5U_2QRI/AAAAAAAAArg/zMTH7ZAUGHc/s400/japan-electricty-hertz-part.png
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-dtg2wxyHnZY/TaAT5U_2QRI/AAAAAAAAArg/zMTH7ZAUGHc/s72-c/japan-electricty-hertz-part.png
Karn Bulsuk: Full Speed Ahead
https://www.bulsuk.com/2011/04/why-electricity-cant-be-transferred.html
https://www.bulsuk.com/
https://www.bulsuk.com/
https://www.bulsuk.com/2011/04/why-electricity-cant-be-transferred.html
true
1176442693905561237
UTF-8
All posts loaded No posts found VIEW ALL Read more Reply Cancel reply Delete By Home PAGES POSTS View All RECOMMENDED FOR YOU LABEL ARCHIVE SEARCH ALL POSTS No posts found Home Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat January February March April May June July August September October November December Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Just now 1 minute ago $$1$$ minutes ago 1 hour ago $$1$$ hours ago Yesterday $$1$$ days ago $$1$$ weeks ago more than 5 weeks ago Followers Follow THIS CONTENT IS LOCKED STEP 1: Share. STEP 2: Click the link you shared to unlock Copy All Code Select All Code All codes were copied to your clipboard Can not copy the codes / texts, please press [CTRL]+[C] (or CMD+C with Mac) to copy