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Solar energy is taking off in Japan. In fact, last year nearly 3 GW of photovoltaics were installed across the country. The country’s tight power supply and demand situation—the vast majority of nuclear generation was taken offline following the Fukushima disaster—has made managing energy generation a very important issue. That’s one reason why the town of Nichinan in Hino-gun, Tottori Prefecture, has turned to the Windows Azure cloud service as part of the energy management system for its new solar power station.
Since the Fukushima disaster in 2011, Japan has doubled down on efforts to expand the country’s renewable energy production. Before the earthquake and tsunami critically damaged the nuclear power plant at Fukushima, Japan received as much as 30 percent of its energy from nuclear power and planned to expand nuclear generation to 50 percent of the country’s energy needs.
Cities were center stage at the recent UN Summit on Climate Change held in New York City. And while historically cities have been less involved at the UN level than country governments on the topic of climate change, the shift in conversation reinforced our belief that addressing climate change cannot happen without addressing our urbanizing world.
Thousands of teams from more than 70 countries around the world competed in the Imagine Cup National Finals this year, and earlier this month, 34 of those teams traveled to Seattle to compete in the Imagine Cup World Finals. Imagine Cup is an exciting, vibrant event that challenges students to use Microsoft technology to develop innovative solutions. The year-long contest gives students the opportunity to compete in three categories – Games, Innovation and World Citizenship – for a spot at the World Finals, this year held in Seattle, Washington. As part of the World Citizenship category, we saw some really interesting projects that addressed environmental sustainability issues, in particular electricity consumption.