In Kochi prefecture, one town decided to go micro-hydro and install small power plants. Yusuhara found that it took some effort, but after town meetings and a focus on education, people liked the idea of self-sufficiency and the environmental benefits. One way to get people interested turned out to be inviting experts from NGOs and local environmental groups, who could discuss global warming and the need for CO2 reduction targets. Way to go Kochi!
More about micro-hydro on greenz.jp and over at Treehugger (in English) and Agua y Terra (in Japanese).
Post updated: I did a second post about micro-hydro over at Treehugger: Tsuru, Yamanashi (Japan) Finding Off-Grid Solutions To Solve Their Energy Needs
Tsuru, a small town in Yamanashi prefecture in Japan, has implemented strategies to harness some of the resources at their disposal. They are promoting micro-hydro, small scale water power, and moreover, they are focusing on education as a way forward.
In April 1999, Tsuru decided to implement an environmental plan of action, and in 2001 they began a project to reduce CO2 emissions to combat global warming. Green purchasing was introduced to reduce the town's energy consumption: Tsuru spared no effort to educate locals that energy issues were important.
In front of city hall, Tsuru built a small wooden hydro electric power plant. It is a reminder of how energy was sourced from streams and rivers in the ancient past, and also forward-looking. You can't get energy out of nothing, and you can't use more than nature provides. In Tsuru, they have made that message a very powerful part of the town's effort to survive in the 21st century.
(In the post, I also dig into the concept of "off-grid" a bit. "Off-grid" means to not be connected to the electricity grid, by supplying your own energy. Especially in Japan, it seems rather impossible to imagine liveing completely away from others, for example by not being hooked up to the same electricity supply as your neighbours. Or am I wrong? Seems to me that "off-grid" has emerged as a final fantasy in some countries, a dream about not having to deal with others, in this crazy world of ours...)